4 Days in the Life: A JCK Tucson Itinerary

With notes and tips from jewelry designer and JCK exhibitor Dana Bronfman

Hey, planners! This one is especially for you. If you like to have a timeline of events as you embark on your annual trek to Tucson, we’ve rounded up a schedule of things you can’t miss when attending JCK Tucson. For the third year in a row, we teamed with the fabulous jewelry designer and JCK Tucson exhibitor Dana Bronfman to get her take on the must sees and dos in Tucson, including some of her favorite memories of past events and tips for those doing it all for the first time. “I definitely plan to attend the gem shows the day before Tucson opens, and the day after it closes,” says Bronfman. “But I am most looking forward to seeing all my jewelry industry buddies and the community of the close-knit JCK Tucson experience.”

Getting there early, or want to know what to do off the show floor? Don’t miss our Tucson To-Do List, packed with the locale’s most interesting events and attractions. 

Wednesday, February 6

6:30 AM — Morning Hike 
Start your Tucson experience with an early morning hike and catch the sunrise over the Sonoran Desert.

Dana says:

“The sunrise hike at the JW Marriott Starr Pass takes you up a hill behind the hotel, which is covered with beautiful cacti and overlooks the entire valley, so you get to see the darkness turn to color as the city lights fade into daylight. It’s a great way to start the day on the right note, and be outside and move a little bit, which I love since I have to stay confined to the indoors at my booth all day. I highly recommend wearing layers, including gloves, a hat, and jacket, as it is quite chilly until the sun comes up. It is not a strenuous hike, but as it is so dry in Tucson, it’s not a bad idea to bring water. Follow your hike with the sage ceremony around the campfire if you have time. It will help you start your morning with an amazing mindset!”

7:30 AM — Mitakuye Oyasin Morning Ritual
In this centuries-old tradition of the burning of sage, you can set your intentions for the day—and for the duration of the show.

9:30 AM – 6:30 PM — Show time!

12:30 PM — Lunch!
A daily curated lunch will be available for purchase in the Ania Terrace—don’t miss today’s special!

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM — The Legend of Arriba, Abajo (A Tequila Toast)
End your first day on a high note, as we come together to celebrate with old friends and new acquaintances. Every evening at sunset, the JW Marriott Starr Pass offers this tradition featuring more than 150 tequilas and a complimentary toast. Learn it before you go: “Arriba, Abajo, al Centro, al Dentro, Saulud!” (Which translates to: “Up, down, out, in!”).

Thursday, February 7

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM — Yoga Gives Back with Jewelers for Children
The perfect way to start your day while simultaneously supporting Jewelers for Children—a refreshing yoga session in the natural setting of the Sonoran Desert. A $10 donation to participate goes directly to JFC.

9:30 AM – 6:30 PM — Show time!

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM — Fireside Chat: Can Inspiration Influence Your Business?
This Fireside Chat features a roster of speakers including Alexis Padis of Padis Jewelry; Denise Richards of Underwood Jewelers; Sarah Nanasi Russell of NEI Group; John Carter of Jack Lewis Jewelers, and also president of the American Gem Society Board of Directors; and Michael Richards of Underwood Jewelers, and president-elect of American Gem Society. Join them as they share stories of their jewelry journeys, with tips on staying inspired and how to use creativity and innovation to grow and thrive in business.

Dana says:

“Last year, another highlight for me was the Fireside Chat with David and Sybil Yurman. It was so inspiring to hear their story from the beginning, how they got started in a different time of jewelry, learning as they went. At the time, their creations were pretty revolutionary and paved the way for a whole new category of jewelry.” Moral of the story: Don’t miss the Fireside Chats!

12:30 PM — Lunch!

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM — Fireside Chat: The Benefits of Acting on Corporate Social Responsibility
Join moderator Brandee Dallow of the Responsible Jewelry Council as she talks with a panel of the industry’s finest, including Sarah Graham Methalsmithing’s Sarah Graham; Richline Group’s Mark Hanna; Mayer & Watt’s Laurie Watt; and Ben Bride Jewelers’ Lisa Bridge.

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM — Roger Dery Gem Cutting
Join award-winning gem faceter Roger Dery in the Tucson Ballroom lobby as he demonstrates a live-cutting of a rhodolite garnet! The Malawi-sourced stone, originating at 6.1 cts., will be transformed before your eyes!

Dana says:

“I’m thrilled to see a Fireside Chat about Social Responsibility on the schedule, and I can’t wait to see Roger Dery cut a gemstone live!”

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Gems After Dark
Don’t miss the third annual celebration that everyone raves about each year! Join your colleagues and friends for a celebration filled with fun and games, networking, and of course, delicious food and drink. In partnership with Gen-Next Jewelers, Jewelers of America, WJA, and American Gem Society Young Titleholders, you don’t want to miss this wonderful evening. RSVP here.

Dana says:

“The Gems After Dark event takes place on the back patio of the show. Everyone is always in a great mood and happy to be in Tucson, so it has a celebratory feeling, usually aided by the weather. For those of us who come from more wintry climates, it’s amazing to be able to be outside in the evening in early February! There are always bites to nibble on as well as a tequila tasting. It is a wonderful chance to hang out with your #gembesties and meet new ones.”

Friday, February 8

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM — Gem Legacy Launch Party
Join us for the introduction of Gem Legacy, a foundation to support education, vocational training and local economies in East African mining communities, founded by Roger and Ginger Dery and their daughter, Rachel. The mission’s advisory board comprises Christina Clover of Field’s Jewelers; Monica Stephenson of idazzle and Anza Gems; and Ben Smithee, founder and CEO of The Smithee Group. Clover, Stephenson, and Smithee will all be featured in our panel discussion about the transformative possibilities in gem mining communities, following a celebratory breakfast and mimosas. RSVP here.

9:30 AM – 5:30 PM — Show time!

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM — Lunch!

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM — Fireside Chat: How Editors Speak to and Engage with Customers
Now’s your chance to have your questions answered—how do I appeal to consumer media? Go inside the minds of editorial staff and brand influencers as Jen Cullen Williams gives a breakdown on how to use product to engage with consumers while maintaining your personal and professional brand.

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM — Roger Dery Gem Cutting
See Dery’s gemstone du jour: An 11.44-ct. Malawi-sourced aquamarine!

Saturday, February 9

9:30 AM – 3:00 PM — Show time!
It’s the last day, so check off your remaining visits before you head home.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM —Mimosas & Networking
More fun before you go! Head to the JCK show floor to raise your glass to friends new and old, and network with those you haven’t had the chance to meet yet!

For more information on JCK Tucson, and to view the full schedule of events, visit jcktucson2019.com.

All photos courtesy of Dana Bronfman.

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