Luxurious displays of fine diamonds, gems and stones lined the aisles of the ongoing Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“This is a trade show where you have vendors here selling things from $20 up to multi-million dollars,” said Paul Lawrence, president of New York-based Spectra Fine Jewelry. “People come here from all over the country looking and treasure hunting for the right piece of jewelry to have in their inventory.”
For over 25 years, jewelers from around the world have gathered at the event to seek out the right pieces to add to their inventory. Some 4,000 attendees and 400 vendors are expected at the show, which opened on Thursday and will run through Sunday.
At her company’s booth, Lawrence showed off a diamond-encrusted necklace costing around $500,000. However, not everything is so expensive.
The trade show seems to fit in well with Las Vegas culture, with sparkling gems like the lights of the Strip and a willingness to negotiate and accept some unusual types of payment.
“It’s very Vegas in the sense that I took poker chips or blackjack chips as payment here,” Lawrence said Friday. “Sometimes we make a deal and we fight over $1,000 or $2,000 and we come to an agreement on a coin toss because it’s Vegas.”
The event is one of four jewelry shows held during the Las Vegas Jewelry Week showcase.
The sellers hold special pieces from major brands such as BVLGARI, Tiffany & Co. and Cartier, but also hold unique pieces.
“They’re all really experts in their area of expertise,” Michelle Orman, public relations and communications manager for the event, said Thursday. “I use the phrase, knowledge is an inch wide, but a mile deep.”
Many antique pieces have extravagant origins, including a tiara presented by Morris Abramov, co-owner of Morelle Davidson LTD of London.
The diamond tiara, acquired shortly before the show, from a European royal family — the cost is over $150,000.
“This is our first time exhibiting here at the Las Vegas show…we acquired it commercially,” Abramov said Friday. “I believe there should always be some kind of mystery element to this case, so I can’t tell you where it came from.”
Patti Esbia, owner of Patti Esbia Antique and Estate Jewelry, presents more unique pieces, including a fascinating Van Cleef box encrusted with diamonds, sapphires and rubies.
“What I’m looking for are the most unique pieces. I like one-of-a-kind things that you’ve never really seen before,” Esbia said on Friday.
But on the show’s first day, Esbia parted ways with a piece of jewelry that wasn’t necessarily for sale — she sold her own brooch right next to her lapel.