The other reason I'm glad to join the Nielsen Jewelry Group is that this is the 30th Anniversary of the famed New Designer Room/Gallery at the JA Shows.
The reason I could make a business focused on the designer sector of the industry is because Mort Abelson, show director for the JA Shows in the 70's (when the show was the only game in town and owned by the Jeweler's of America trade association) decided to spice up the trade show and invite "some young designers" to exhibit with the industry big-guns.
Mort was a true trailblazer. He schlepped to the cow pastures of Rhinebeck to peruse the craft show that had recently started (the forerunner of the ACC Show). He trekked through countless "booths" (if that's what the tents could be called) to see if any of these "artisans" had something worthwhile to show.
And what he found was amazing. He met the 20-something David Yurman with long hair and flip-flops with his first-ever collection (beads, not cable!). He met Michael Good with his starter colection of undulating metal waves. He met so many of today's "masters" when they were young bucks bucking the system of anonymous, pendantic jewelry.
And he brought them to New York, gave them a "booth" and shined a spotlight on their budding talents. He invited the industry -- the suit-and-tie guys (or rather leisure-suit and sideburns, guys since it was the 70s afterall) -- to take a peek, try something new, dare to be different.
And he started an industry. 1977 was the birth of the American Designer Jewelry Movement and we're going to celebrate it's 30th anniversary at this summer's JA New York Show.