Press Release: Jewelry-making expertise was on full display at MJSA Expo New York, the signature annual trade show for jewelry makers and designers, which took place March 9 to 11 at the Hilton New York. Sponsored by MJSA, the association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, Expo welcomed more than 3,000 buyers during three days and they found not only an expanded educational program — including the launch of a new feature, MJSA Journal Live — but also the latest tools, supplies, and services from a community of exhibitors eager to offer their knowledge.
“A really excellent part of MJSA Expo New York is the opportunity to actually meet with ‘tool people’ in person. I was able to discuss a problem I had and immediately, an expert was able to show me a way to solve it that made the most sense. And yes, I bought the tool,” said Martha Seely of Martha Seely Designs in Concord, Massachusetts. “Print catalogs and the Internet are great, but having people to speak with really makes all the difference. I think that was the greatest benefit I found from the show.”
Learning about the advances in jewelry-making technology was also why Dan Christie, one of the employee-owners of five-store Kessler’s Diamonds, traveled from Wisconsin with his goldsmith team leader, James Bradley. He reported that one of the goals of their visit was to decide on an additive manufacturing machine. “And we walked away with a couple new strategies for growing the custom aspect of our business, too,” he said.
Christie continued, “What I like about MJSA Expo New York — as well as MJSA Journal — is the focus is on us bench jeweler folks. MJSA is a great place for techie craftsmen/craftspeople to indulge in our passions with like minded individuals. It’s a variable passions playground for jewelry artisans.”
Byard F. Brogan III, the third-generation owner of Byard F. Brogan, a century-old Glenside, Pennsylvania–manufacturer of fine platinum and gold jewelry, agreed. “I decided to come at the last minute — it was an easy day trip — and I was so glad I came,” he said. “It was a good day out of the office to talk with people about the big picture, rather than just focusing on what happened to be on my desk that day. I came away with several great ideas as a result of conversations I had, some planned and others totally by chance.”
Brogan said one of the aspects of Expo New York that sealed his decision to attend was a new “playground” at the show, called MJSA Journal LIVE. The two-day series of demonstrations, one-on-one consultations and presentations, by some of the distinguished industry experts who have appeared in the pages of MJSA’s flagship publication, was a big hit. They chatted and advised designers on everything from additive manufacturing systems and casting techniques to such basic business issues as online marketing and merchandising a designer line. Special seminars on jewelry photography and demonstrations on stone-setting rounded out the ongoing buzz in the room. The program was sponsored by the MJSA Education Foundation, and the bench and tool sponsor was Stuller Inc.
In MJSA Expo’s presentation area on the third level of the show floor, Swarovski also sponsored a full-day program of hands-on workshops, focusing on techniques for creating crystal jewelry and accessories, featuring Nick Regine, star of the "Professor of Crystal" educational series running on YouTube and in MJSA Journal. Other sessions focused on 2014 fashion trends, Federal Trade Commission guidelines for "Made in USA" claims, and fair trade and ethical practices.
"I was very favorably impressed with MJSA Expo New York," said Harsh Gopani, the director of Harsh Precious Metals Pvt. Ltd. of Mumbai, India. "There were a wide array of suppliers and I made many vital contacts. I also was extremely impressed with the educational program. I received updates on topics of concern for the jewelry industry, such as ethical and responsible practices in jewelry making, and I plan to share what I've learned. Expo was well worth the time I spent here."
"MJSA Expo New York was worth my time as an exhibitor — I will come back," said first-time exhibitor Russ Cooper, owner of Jewelry Repair Enterprises Inc. (a Fast-Fix Jewelry and Watch Repairs franchisor). "We met both bench jewelers and retailers interested in learning about our franchise opportunities. Jewelers who want to do the work and work for themselves — but not by themselves — were the attendees who seemed to like our model.”
Social events included a well-attended cocktail party at the venerable New York Athletic Club, sponsored by MJSA and a number of its exhibitors. At the event, generous donors contributed almost $2,000 to the MJSA Education Foundation by buying chances to win three pieces of jewelry that were the focus of MJSA Journal’s Mystery Box Challenge. In the challenge, three well-known designers were asked to create a unique piece of jewelry in four weeks’ time from materials sent to them. The winners were Ed Audet of Precision Polishing & Ornamentals, who won a pendant by designer Boris Goynatsky of BG Art Jewelry Atelier; Steve Cipolla of National Chain, who won a pendant by designer Alishan Halebian of Alishan; and Carol Williamson of Swarovski, who won a headpiece created by designer Alp Sagnak of Atelier Minyon.
“I haven’t missed an MJSA Expo New York show since 1976,” said designer and jewelry maker Cathe Linton of Linton Designs in Warwick, New York. “No matter what your pursuit in jewelry, the latest news, inventions, supplies, tools and knowledge are all here in one spot.”
For more information about exhibiting or attending MJSA Expo New York for 2015, go to MJSA.org or call 1.800.444.MJSA (6572). March 2015 dates will be announced shortly.
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