When the U.S. Department of Commerce released their jewelry and watch sales figures for 2014 it wasn’t a pretty picture and it hasn’t improved in the new year.

We are in the midst of a period of tremendous social change. Have you noticed?

It has long been on my to-do list to chat with designer Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, who not only has a fabulous first name but also creates beautiful, unique pieces.

A couple weeks ago, I participated in the Bored and Brilliant project from public radio station WNYC, which challenged participants to log the time they spend per day on their smartphones and then see how much that time drops, and their creativity goes up, when they are issued a series of phone-less challenges.

This year marked my first trip to Vicenza, Italy for the Vicenzaoro show and, I must say, it was the most fun I’ve had at a trade show in a long time.

I have been doing something scary lately: I’ve been leaving the house without my phone. Not for long periods of time--say, an entire 8-hour span--but rather just a stretch of a few hours, on a weekend afternoon or on those rare workdays when I escape my office for a bit at lunch.

Earlier this year, it would have been hard to believe that anything could top the consolidation of the industry’s two largest players, Zale Corp. and Signet Jewelers Ltd., in terms of news for 2014.

I’ll start off this blog with a short confessional but not the scary, priest-behind-the-screen, say-10-Hail-Marys-type from my youth.

National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.