Behind the Scenes at Jewelry Week in Las Vegas

When people hear that I’ll be spending six days in Las Vegas, they instantly assume I’ll be lounging by the pool, seeing shows and gambling. I cannot tell you how far that is from the truth (OK, I did donate $40 to the slots one evening.). This was my fourth year attending Couture and JCK, and I thought I’d give you, my lovely readers, a glimpse into what really happens when I’m there. WARNING: There will be no beautiful jewelry showcased in this post. SECOND WARNING: If this is TMI and not quite your cup of tea, then I won’t be offended if you skip this post and wait (eagerly, of course) for my next article, which I promise WILL showcase beautiful jewelry.


Year #4!
Year #4!

So for me, it all starts weeks in advance, when I realize that I, the girl who is used to the cool temps in San Francisco, need about 10-12 Vegas-worthy, photo-ready outfits. Not only do I need to stay cool in 104 degrees (yes, that’s how hot it got this year), but I know that the countless photos I’m in with designers and jewelry industry peeps will be on the internet forEVER! No pressure there, right?!

If you know me, then you’ll know that black is my color of choice, but it’s a bit challenging to make that look resort-worthy. Oy vey…all I can say is that Eileen Fisher saves my a** in situations like these. Some of you may be asking why I can’t re-wear certain pieces and mix-and-match them. And I will tell you, that 104 degrees combined with peri-menopause does not bode well for re-wearing. You get my drift.

And then there’s the shoes. Given that I will be walking miles a day, flats are the only option for me. While #VegasShoes took on a life of its own on Instagram, I believe I was the sole woman that went for flats only. And yes, there were Birkenstocks in the mix. It’s OK–think what you must. I can deal with it.



My fellow image consultant, Jennifer Bressie, was (as always) my accomplice for the first few days of the show. Not only is she instrumental in interviews, but she is also a guest blogger for this site. Though we did manage a few hours of shopping right after we landed, we were soon immersed in the land of jewelry.

One of our first missions was to attend the JCK Talks session, The Power of Blogging. I was honored to be there to support my fellow jewelry bloggers, Monica Stephenson (iDazzle), Barbara Palumbo (Adornmentality), Danielle Miele (Gem Gossip), Katerina Perez ( and moderated by Diane Warga-Arias (Jewelry Activist). It was great to hear their perspectives on our niche space — they really represented! And as an added bonus, Robyn Hawk of A Fly on The Wall was seated right next to us!! (Not only is she completely in the know in the industry, but she was fabulous with introductions. Grazie!)

jck the power of blogging

Photo courtesy of Peggy Jo Donahue
Photo courtesy of Peggy Jo Donahue

And while hanging out in the hallway afterwards, I was psyched to meet Danielle (from the panel) and Jean-Noel Soni, gem-cutter extraordinaire, from Top Notch Faceting. Though I’m “virtual” friends with both of them, it was our first face-to-face meeting. This is one of those times when I’m so thankful for social media, as we probably wouldn’t have met if not for that. (Side note: It would have been even better if I hadn’t been inhaling a sandwich on the sidelines while all this was happening, just sayin’, but a 3:00 lunch is late for me, and my blood sugar was plummeting!)

danielle miele, amy roseveare, jean-noel soni
On the way back to the Wynn, there “may” have been a little retail therapy side-trip at Ceasar’s. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know how I got into a bit of trouble. 😉 And then there’s Jen…I don’t know quite how to break it to you, but she was convinced she needed a selfie stick. (It’s all you fault, Ray Griffiths!) Not only that, but she wanted one that was totally blinged out. Say what?! Yes. She found it it in the cheesiest of shops, and I was not happy about it at all, to put it mildly.


I was NOT in favor of her purchase!
I was NOT in favor of her purchase!

Thursday night of Couture is the big opening night party, and that’s always one of the highlights of the trip. They have a cool band, yummy food, and it’s a chance to reconnect with jewelry peeps and make new friends. Thank the lord that Jen’s selfie stick did not fit into her clutch!'s too big to bring to the party!
Darn…it’s too big to bring to the party!

This year they had acrobatic tree climbers, and Fitz and the Tantrums were the headliner.

Couture 2015 opening night party
Couture opening night party
Fitz and the Tantrums at Couture 2015
Since Jen didn’t have enough time with her new selfie stick, I did indulge her with some play time back in our room. (OK, it was a wee bit fun.)

amy roseveare and  jennifer bressie
amy roseveare and jennifer bressie
amy roseveare and jennifer bressie
A (quite) late night (for the girl who usually sleeps 9+ hours a night) meant ordering room service for breakfast. I know this is completely indulgent, but there’s no way I wanted to be late for my first interview in the morning, and skipping breakfast is so not an option for me.

This brings me to a pertinent point — why I’m even at the shows. These shows are not for the public to go buy jewelry. This is where stores go to place their orders for their establishments. I’m there as editorial — interviewing designers, interpreting the trends, etc. I’m there to write, which I love. My goal is to share the world of jewelry with you.



The majority of the remaining days are spent seeing collections, trying on gems (someone has to do it!) and interviewing designers. Most of my time I’m wearing my reading glasses, with pen, notebook and iPhone in hand. (Many people comment about how old-school I am with my lined notebook.) I bought an extra-pretty one this year, as it will live on my desk, and I like to look at something that makes me smile.


pretty Christian Lacroix notebook
pretty Christian Lacroix notebook

It’s not as glamorous as you may think…but it’s damn fun! One day I interviewed for 7 hours straight! Yes, there are the deodorant breakdown times, such as on the shuttle between JCK and Couture, but even on those rides you’re bound to meet some interesting people.

amy roseveare at couture
I try to spend some time each night processing all the cards, pamphlets and flash drives I get each day, but it’s hard to keep up. Just trying to find/follow everyone’s social media takes hours.


Trying to keep up
Trying to keep up

Sadly, this is what the desk in my room looked like the last morning.  I you know what an organizing maniac I am, you’ll know this was painful for me to look at.

messy desk at couture
Saturday night of Couture is the big awards ceremony, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

couture awards
I was lucky enough to sit with a posse of CJDG designers, and we cruised across the street for a Mexican dinner after the ceremony. (Sorry that I didn’t manage to grab the massive skull bottle, Jack!)

couture awards 2015
After all the excitement, and a last full day of interviews, I was content with a sandwich in the cafe and the spectacular view from my room.


Water and a tuna sammy
Water and a tuna sammy

view from the wynn
There is never enough time to see all the people that I want to see, and I know you may find that hard to believe. Between seeing new designers, and catching up with those that I already know, the time just flies by. But the good thing is that it always leaves me wanting more and looking forward to next year. When I came home, I immediately blocked out the dates for next years’ shows. And if I’m really crafty, maybe I’ll even work in a day at the Antique Jewelry Show, which takes place at the same time at Paris. A girl can dream, right?!

So now, for those of you who want to see the BLING, let me get to work on that. I know that I have months of articles to come that will not disappoint!


Do you know what granulation is? I had an idea, but I didn’t truly understand what it was until I met Jack and Elizabeth Gualtiere of Zaffiro at the Couture show. Granulation is an ancient goldsmithing technique which is, “…a decorative process that consists of applying minute spheres of gold to a surface of similar gold alloy and then heating the entire piece to a temperature high enough to form a permanent bond between the surface and the spheres.” Impressive, right? Take a look at this pair of earrings. As described by Elizabeth, “These are our one-of-a-kind classic “Fern Curl” earrings that are set with amethyst briolettes and teal diamonds in granulated 22kt yellow gold, with 18kt yellow gold posts.”

zaffiro earrings
Being a fan of all shades of aqua, I was immediately drawn to the hue of this necklace in their case. The pendant is the surface skin of an aquamarine, which is very reminiscent of Roman Glass. It’s basically what the stone looks like when it comes out of the ground. J’Adore.

zaffiro necklace
Jack and Elizabeth originally discovered Etruscan granulation while on a study abroad program during college. They began working together 22+ years ago, and they were friends before the whole dating/marriage thing. (Love that!) They live and work in Portland, Oregon, where each piece is completely hand-crafted. I thought it was so interesting that they consult on each others’ designs, yet each one makes their own pieces from start to finish. Apparently Jack is more drawn to architectural, geometric designs, while Elizabeth gravitates towards curves. Though through it all, granulation is the core, common thread.

These two pendants begged to be tried on, and who am I to ignore jewelry saying, “Hello, Amy!” These are Anglo Saxon bronzes from the 6th Century, which were dug up in London. They truly take “one-of-a-kind” jewelry to the next level!

zaffiro ancient pendants
While 22K gold is their main medium, they have also added oxidized silver to their repertoire. Their Etrusco group showcases their metal work, alongside colorful gems.

zaffiro etrusco rings
The cuffs in this series blew me away, Here’s one I tried on at the show.

zaffiro cuff
And here’s another design from the same collection they recently posted on social media. The main stone is Australian boulder opal, accented with teal and white diamonds.

Zaffiro cuff
These “nebula” cuffs, part of the Etrusco series, are, “..inspired by the imagery of distant constellations, points of light against a dark universe, and the harmony of seemingly randomly arranged objects..” I completely see it, don’t you?

While speaking with Jack and Elizabeth, I couldn’t help but notice the color of this bracelet, as it wasn’t rose gold, yet I couldn’t quite nail down what I was looking at. It is apparently a new patina they’ve been working on called the “orchid patina.” It’s still in the experimental stages, and they have yet to achieve the color on gold. I would not be surprised if this has now been accomplished.

zaffiro bracelet
I was e-mailing with Elizabeth this week, and she shared this image of a new necklace, most definitely fit for a princess! It is a one-of-a-kind Etrusco pendant, set with a tanzanite cabochon, purple sapphires, teal diamonds and a mint green tourmaline in 22kt yellow gold, with forged and oxidized sterling silver. They truly have a gift with color.

zaffiro necklace
If you’d like to take a closer look into the intensely complex process of making a custom piece, then you’ll most certainly enjoy this 4 minute video. I know I did!

I likely took up a bit too much time asking a million questions of this dynamic design duo, but I truly appreciated every moment of it. I am very excited to see their most current designs at Couture again this year!

elizabeth gualtiere, amy roseveare, jack gualtieri