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JCK Recap

“What a strange but good show.” Just about everyone

Before the Delta variant started chugging through the country, the JCK show was on track to be around 35-40% of its usual size. But the prospect of getting out there and meeting peers was compelling enough that those planning to attend were enthusiastic.

Then came the surge, and in the week before JCK, another 40% of planned attendees and exhibitors dropped out. Interestingly, what remained of the show — basically the size of one of the smaller regional shows — ended up being a good experience for those who were there.

The vibe of the show was can-do, positive, and warm. Every exhibitor we spoke to said that they didn’t see many buyers, but the ones they met with were serious, interested, and placed orders. Nearly every exhibitor said they had a better show than in 2019! Buyers also commented that the buying experience was surprisingly good, and that they liked not having the pressure to get around to thousands of booths within a few short days.

Most attendees noticed that prices were up across the board, and style options were slightly less limited. Diamond buyers had dramatically fewer suppliers to choose from, but that didn’t stop them from finding the diamonds they were looking for.

We observed perhaps 100 people in attendance at the JCK Breakfast that typically attracts a few thousand, which was a very strange site, as was the site of extra-wide aisles that at times were completely empty. But if you looked past the aisles and into the booths, you could see the buyers in meetings, actively engaged in looking at products and placing orders.

People were generally quite compliant with masks and social distancing while on the show floor. In fact, JCK had health and safety ambassadors roaming the show to ensure everyone had on masks, and the Las Vegas Sherriffs department was also there, reminding people that masking was the law.

It would not be fair to hold the 2021 show to a comparison with the 2019 show. The world has changed so much since then, and the pandemic doesn’t seem to be done with us yet. But as the first major show after the pandemic, it turned out to be precisely what attendees wanted and needed. In the end, lots of good business was conducted, which is the best anyone can hope for.