20 episodes

A podcast by JCK Magazine and JCKonline about industry news, trends, interviews, weird stories, and more!

The Jewelry District JCK

    • News
    • 4.9 • 37 Ratings

A podcast by JCK Magazine and JCKonline about industry news, trends, interviews, weird stories, and more!

    Episode 43: Guest Christina Miller

    Episode 43: Guest Christina Miller

    In This EpisodeYou’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/victoria-gomelsky/) and news director Rob Bates (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/rob-bates/) interview Christina Miller, owner and founder of Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting.
    Show Notes
    00:30 Victoria and Rob introduce their guest, Christina Miller, founder of Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting.06:09 Christina discusses her first company, Ethical Metalsmiths.15:27 You'll hear the very first step you can take to become sustainable.19:26 Christina argues that claiming you use recycled gold is not enough to be considered sustainable.23:33 Victoria asks if Christina is hopeful about sustainability, and Christina says we have a long way to go.
    Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: christinatmiller.com (https://christinatmiller.com/), jckonline.com (https://www.jckonline.com/), @jckmagazine (https://www.instagram.com/jckmagazine/)
    Show Recap
    Introducing Christina MillerAn expert on sustainability and sustainable sourcing, Christina Miller is the owner and founder of Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting. From 2004 to 2015, she led the nonprofit organization Ethical Metalsmiths, which she cofounded. Today, she’s calling in from the village of College Corner, Ohio. Perhaps not a hub for jewelry, College Corner does happen to be a place where international activities on responsible sourcing and sustainability occur (right from her home office!). Christina comes from an academic art background and always wanted to be an art teacher; she earned bachelor's and master’s degrees in jewelry and metalsmithing.
    Ethical Metalsmiths
    Around 2005, Christina and her Ethical Metalsmith cofounder, Susan Kingsley, gave a talk on sustainability at a conference put on by the Society of North American Goldsmiths. Though this concept is commonplace in our jewelry industry now, their ideas were not well-received 16 years ago. Early on in her career, large-scale mining really made an impression on Christina. She's been concerned with the way we pushed aside Native Americans and eradicated groups of people to obtain our raw materials. Christina explains who Ethical Metalsmiths originally aimed to inform, and how the industry changed over the next 11 years after she formed the organization.
    How to Become Sustainable
    Since her days in Ethical Metalsmiths, Christina has been working with retailers, designers, and civil society organizations on sustainable practices. She encourages people to look inward and to work within their own belief system. First, you should think about the impact you would like to have, and then work to pursue sourcing that matches those values. Christina says ethical jewelry sourcing lies in the relationships we have with people all along the supply chain. Sustainability is a journey, and while we may be shortsighted when we start out, we learn to to be more ethical as we become more educated.
    Why Recycled Gold Isn't Enough
    Christina encourages people to reconsider how highly they tout their use of recyclable gold; companies shouldn’t be making claims that they can’t substantiate. We need to be doing more than just using recycled gold. Christina argues that all gold is really recycled, as all the gold that has ever existed lies somewhere on or within our planet. Using recycled gold is a start, but there’s so much more that has to be done in order to be considered sustainable.
    We Have a Long Way to Go

    • 29 min
    Episode 42: Industry Departures, Rocksbox, and Watches and Wonders Geneva

    Episode 42: Industry Departures, Rocksbox, and Watches and Wonders Geneva

    In This EpisodeYou’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/victoria-gomelsky/) and news director Rob Bates (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/rob-bates/) talk about industry departures, Rocksbox, and Watches and Wonders Geneva.
    Show Notes
    00:30 Victoria and Rob are excited for JCK Las Vegas. They also mourn the loss of two extraordinary women in the jewelry industry.08:04 Mark Smelzer, longtime publisher of JCK, departs the company.11:11 Rob talks about Signet's acquisition of Rocksbox, and his concerns about company consolidation.18:27 Victoria talks about Watches and Wonders Geneva.20:26 There's a new sustainable watch coming to the market in 2022.
    Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: jckonline.com (https://www.jckonline.com/), @jckmagazine (https://www.instagram.com/jckmagazine/)
    Show Recap
    JCK Las VegasVictoria and Rob talk about getting their COVID-19 vaccines, followed by Victoria excitedly sharing that she just booked her hotel room for JCK Las Vegas, which runs Aug. 24–Aug. 30. She’ll be at the Palazzo and can’t wait to see everyone there. On a sadder note, Victoria and Rob take a moment to honor the extraordinary women in the jewelry industry who have passed away over the last few weeks: Elsa Peretti and Alex Woo.
    Mark Smelzer Leaves JCKIn other news, Mark Smelzer, who was JCK’s publisher for 17 years, has taken another job, with Jewelers Mutual Group as chief content executive. Victoria and Rob both share memories they have of Mark, and congratulate him on his new job.
    Signet’s Acquisition of RocksboxSignet has taken over Rocksbox, a subscription service that caters to the serious jewelry fan. Subscribers get three pieces of jewelry for $21 a month. The average three pieces cost about $150 in total, and the company sends subscribers two items they selected and one surprise. The surprise element makes this business model one of discovery. Rob spends a bit of time talking about the negatives of businesses consolidating.
    Watches and Wonders GenevaThis podcast was recorded on April 7, which was the opening day of Watches and Wonders Geneva. Just like last year, the event was all virtual. Thirty-eight brands participated this year. Victoria discusses some of the new models that were expected this year based on all the press releases she received.
    A Sustainable WatchVictoria also mentions the Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID, which she wrote about (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/12/fashion/watches-suppliers-secrecy-switzerland.html) for the New York Times. The timepiece is a concept watch that’s due to come out in 2022 with a limited release of just 30. A big selling point of this watch? It’s made from 98.6% recycled material—a record in the industry. Panerai also used nine external suppliers, a fact that it publicized in its press release. It's not typical for Swiss companies to share who their materials come from, so Panerai doing so signals a new effort toward sustainability.

    • 27 min
    Episode 41: Guest Madeline Fraser

    Episode 41: Guest Madeline Fraser

    In This EpisodeYou’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/victoria-gomelsky/) and news director Rob Bates (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/rob-bates/) talk with Madeline Fraser, founder and CEO of Gemist. They'll be discussing her entrepreneurial spirit, how she started her company, and how she views the jewelry industry as a former outsider.
    Show Notes
    00:30 Victoria and Rob introduce their guest, Madeline Fraser, founder and CEO of Gemist.04:04 Madeline explains how she started Gemist.09:46 Gemist has evolved over the years to include fashion jewelry.15:43 Rob asks Madeline about her marketing strategy; Victoria asks about AR technology.19:24 Madeline gives her take on the jewelry industry, and recounts a meeting she had with De Beers.
    Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: jckonline.com (https://www.jckonline.com/), @jckmagazine (https://www.instagram.com/jckmagazine/?hl=en)
    Show Recap
    Introducing Madeline FraserVictoria and Rob introduce their guest, Madeline Fraser, founder and CEO of a direct-to-consumer company called Gemist. Last year, JCK senior editor Emili Vesilind wrote that Gemist was like the Warby Parker of jewelry. Madeline tells her story of becoming an entrepreneur, which begins with her starting her first business in college. She created the very first online interior design company. Her idea got her a spot on Shark Tank and ended up being developed into a platform called Hutch. She then explains how her engagement to her then-fiancé sparked her to start Gemist.
    What Is Gemist?Madeline explains how she started Gemist. First, she noticed a hole in the jewelry industry: There weren't any companies that allowed you to design your own piece of jewelry online. She figured out the market, who Gemist's competitors were, how big the industry was, and what problem it was looking to solve. What makes her company stand out? Customers can not only create their own jewelry pieces online or in the app, but also try the pieces out at home before they buy them.
    How Gemist Has EvolvedWhile Gemist originally started out as a brand revolving around creating your own custom engagement ring, the company has evolved into selling fashion jewelry as well, including rings and earrings. This expansion of the inventory was at the request of customers who loved being able to create engagement rings but wanted more diversity. Rob asks Madeline about security risks with potential customers trying out the jewelry at home, and she explains how her customers get a replica product. Victoria asks about what the reaction was to her company from investors and Silicon Valley, and Madeline explains the challenges of getting investors interested in the jewelry industry.
    Marketing and AR TechnologyVictoria asks if Madeline has seen any men shopping for themselves despite Gemist being a female-centered company, and she says yes. Rob then asks about marketing, and Madeline explains how affiliate marketing has especially worked well for them. Victoria asks Madeline about AR technology, but Madeline doesn’t think the tech is fully developed yet, and believes AR still needs to catch up with itself before she incorporates it into Gemist.
    The Jewelry Industry Through Entrepreneurial EyesVictoria asks Madeline what she believes entices people into a store, keeps them there, engages them, and drives them to make a purchase. You'll hear her answer that question,

    • 27 min
    Episode 40: Gendered Watches And Lab-Grown Sustainability

    Episode 40: Gendered Watches And Lab-Grown Sustainability

    In This Episode In this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/victoria-gomelsky/) and news director Rob Bates (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/rob-bates/)talk about gender in the watch industry, secondhand jewelry and watches, and a new sustainability certification for diamonds.
    Show Notes00:30 Victoria and Rob take a second to review this busy month.02:15 Victoria notices the watch industry’s disapproving reaction to the category of women’s watches.09:00 Gendered products are outdated. Rob and Victoria explore how marketing such products has failed.12:13 Secondhand jewelry and watch sites are plentiful. Rob talks about authentication and sustainability.14:35 Rob recently wrote about the language surrounding lab-grown diamonds, and discusses the new criteria a producer must meet to be considered eco-friendly.
    Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: jckonline.com (https://www.jckonline.com/), @jckmagazine (https://www.instagram.com/jckmagazine/)
    Show Recap
    A Busy March It’s mid-March! That means it's daylight saving time. We’ve set our clocks forward in preparation for more hours of sunshine. But that’s not the only marker of time. This time last year, the first COVID-19 lockdowns were just starting across America. We’ve come a long way since then. Another March event? Women’s History Month. And that takes Victoria’s mind to watches.
    Women Aren’t MonolithicVictoria wrote an article for the New York Times for International Women’s Day both this year and last. When she wrote last year’s article, she spoke to Kathleen McGivney, CEO of RedBar Group, who told her there are so many categories for men’s watches, but when it comes to women’s watches, there is just one category. She made the point that women are not monolithic, and the industry has been missing that fact. This year, Hodinkee published a piece (https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/all-watches-should-be-unisex-and-heres-why) making the argument that all watches should be unisex.
    The Failure of Watch AdvertisementsRob says when you go online, watches are advertised as these macho, masculine pieces. Victoria agrees: In advertising aimed toward women, models are scantily dressed and posing in their watches. In advertising aimed toward men, men are skiing, climbing mountains, and using their watches as tools, not just as accessories. Advertising for women just shows how they can be sexier, which doesn’t necessarily reflect what women actually want. The industry's marketing toward women is outdated. In other watch-related news, Rob reports that Hodinkee bought Crown & Caliber, the secondhand watch site. He’s interested in Hodinkee's move from a watch site into the e-commerce realm.
    Secondhand Sites Rob wonders about secondhand watch sites: Are there too many of them? Can the market handle them all? Victoria counters by asking when the jewelry industry will follow suit. Rob points out that the real problem with secondhand jewelry sites is getting the pieces authenticated. eBay is one place trying to grown its certification processes. Rob says people's desire for secondhand jewelry and watches comes from their interest in sustainability.
    Lab-Grown Language On the topic of sustainability and eco-friendliness,

    • 19 min
    Episode 39: Guest Alexander Lacik

    Episode 39: Guest Alexander Lacik

    In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/victoria-gomelsky/) and news director Rob Bates (https://www.jckonline.com/writer/rob-bates/)talk with Alexander Lacik, CEO of Pandora. They discuss how Alexander got into the jewelry industry, the trouble Pandora was having back in 2017 and how the company has been working to recover, and the effect of COVID-19 on its e-commerce business.
    Show Notes00:52 Victoria and Rob introduce guest Alexander Lacik, CEO of Pandora.04:35 Alexander details the trouble Pandora was in before he came aboard.10:03 Rob asks Alexander why he thinks Pandora charms took off in the first place.11:47 Alexander is asked about the company's efforts to market to Gen Z.13:54 Victoria asks about Pandora’s e-commerce initiatives, and then they talk sustainability.
    Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: jckonline.com (https://www.jckonline.com/), @jckmagazine (https://www.instagram.com/jckmagazine/)
    Show Recap
    Introducing Alexander LacikAlexander is the CEO of Pandora. Before moving to Pandora, Alexander worked with a range of brands including Pringles, Vicks, Always, Olay, Pantene, Lysol, Woolite, Head & Shoulders, and more. After moving back to Sweden with his kids, he ended up working with Britex for a while before Pandora knocked on his door. He was excited to work with Pandora because it was an international brand, and he liked working with a company based in a different locale.
    In Hot WaterRob asks Alexander if, since he has worked on so many brands, Pandora is his first that is a discretionary category. Alexander says jewelry is more of a luxury item than other brands he’s served, but marketing any product is similar in some ways. Pandora was having some trouble in 2017, and that’s when it approached Alexander. Pandora's cardinal issue? Fixing its brand relevance as it had lost touch with its core audience. After a study with 30,000 people, Pandora realized product design wasn’t an obstacle. The problem was that the brand had lost a bit of its clarity and needed to redefine what it stood for.
    Standing the Test of TimeRob asks why Pandora took off in the first place, and why its charms continue to strike a chord with people. Alexander clarifies that Pandora did not create the idea of charm bracelets; they’ve been around for thousands of years. He says that it's hard to determine why things become relevant in pop culture, but that marking milestones and celebrations in one’s life with a charm is what really drew people to the company. Now, Alexander says, Pandora is in a much better position than it was two years ago.
    Who’s the Audience?Rob asks if it’s important for Pandora to pull in younger consumers. Alexander says women are the biggest buyers, particularly those between 25 and 40 who have a large disposable income. But he believes that by 2030, 30% of jewelry will be bought by Gen Zers. Pandora is currently working to figure out what the difference is, if any, between marketing to millennials and Gen Zers, while still staying relevant to the market at large.
    E-commerce Solidification and SustainabilityVictoria asks about the impact of COVID-19 on Pandora’s e-commence business. Alexander says the company used to have 16 different e-commerce platforms globally, so the problem that it encountered was that if it wanted to upgrade something,

    • 19 min
    Episode 38: Guest John Ferry

    Episode 38: Guest John Ferry

    In This EpisodeIn this edition of The Jewelry District, you'll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk with John Ferry, the founder and chief executive officer of Prosperity Earth. He'll tell us all about his mining efforts in Madagascar and the beautiful demantoid garnets found there.
    Show Notes00:30 Introducing John Ferry, founder and chief executive officer of Prosperity Earth.06:51 John explains how Prosperity Earth tries to give back to the local community08:17 Victoria asks John to explain the significance of demantoids.12:31 John tells us all about the mine.15:39 Rob questions if mining can have a positive impact on the community in which it occurs.19:03 A few more fun facts about Madagascar.
    Episode CreditsHosts: Rob Bates and Victoria GomelskyEditor: Olivia BrileyProducer and engineer: Natalie ChometPlugs: jckonline.com, @jckmagazine
    Show Recap
    Introducing John FerryWith most of the Tucson gem shows cancelled,  Victoria and Rob will be bringing a little bit of the gem world to you as they introduce their guest, John Ferry, the founder and chief executive officer of Prosperity Earth. John is based in Greenwich, Conn., while his mining company is based in Madagascar. Originally working on Wall Street, John later turned his entrepreneurial spirit to Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, which he's now visited around 65 times. Starting out with a chocolate and vanilla business, he soon turned his endeavors in Madagascar to mining.
    All About Giving BackJohn says creating prosperity is his No. 1 goal, hence the name of the company. And with that comes a component of giving back to the community. That's done by reinvesting in the people who work for his company and the community in which they work. But giving back also includes an environmental factor. There's a high level of interdependency between the people of Madagascar, the planet, community relations, and environmental development.
    What Are Demantoids?Victoria tells us that she's holding a demantoid garnet of John's and asks him to explain why it's so special. He tells us a demantoid garnet is 10,000 times rarer than a diamond. Its signature features are its fire and brilliance, which John believes make it the most beautiful of all the colored gems. Comparing Madagascan demantoids to ones from Russia, John believes his are better because of their sharp and clean crystallization. Victoria asks John about his deposit supplies in the mine, and Rob asks him about how he plans to get the word out about demantoids.
    Origins Of Madagascan DemantoidsRob asks John how he found out about the mine, how long it took him to get set up, and how deep it is. The mine has been around for about 10 years. John explains how he knew an Italian geologist, Dr. Federico Pezzotta, who stuck with the deposit to study it and establish the potential of the location. Right now, Prosperity Earth is only mining down about 15 to 18 meters-but it should eventually go down to around 200 to 300 meters. Madagascan demantoid is anywhere from 30 to 50% the cost of Russian demantoid. John says he wants to democratize demantoid, making it accessible to designers.
    The Impact Of MiningBeyond the mining level, Prosperity Earth has a 10-plus person gem-cutting team that does precision faceting. The gem-cutting process is responsible for job creation, making Madagascar not just the origin of the rough gem crystal, but also where the value addition takes place. Rob plays devil's advocate and asks if mining can really have a positive impact on local economies. John says yes. But he also differentiates between various types of mining operations.

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
37 Ratings

37 Ratings

FriendlyCashew ,

Fun and informative

Victoria and Rob are great hosts. So knowledgeable!

PerspicacticPariah ,

Great podcast for jewellery industry enthusiasts

The hosts are knowledgeable and regularly bring on great interviewees from the industry. Interesting and well done. It would be nice for listeners to have access to older episodes.

llkk23 ,

Listen now!

Love this podcast!

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