By Michelle Graff
New York—Jewelers of America announced Wednesday that it will hold its first national convention next year, an education-focused jewelry event that will be open to all jewelry professionals.

The Jewelers of America National Convention is scheduled to take place Sunday, July 28 and Monday, July 29 in New York, the same week as the Women’s Jewelry Association’s annual Awards for Excellence gala (July 29) and the American Gem Society Circle of Distinction dinner (July 30).

(Emerald Expositions announced in July that it is moving the JA New York Summer jewelry trade show, which used to take place in late July in conjunction with the WJA and AGS jewelry events, to August. A GIA spokeswoman said Tuesday that dates have not yet been set for its New York Career Fair, which also normally takes place in late July.)

Pittsburgh jeweler and current JA Board Chair John Henne said Jewelers of America, which is headed by a board of 23 retailers, felt there was a need for an educational event that gives jewelers the chance to learn and network.

He brought up an observation made recently by his 88-year-old father Jack Henne, who has been in the business for six decades: There has been more change in the industry in the past 10 years than there was in the previous 50. Jewelers today need to constantly be innovating, learning and growing to stay relevant.

“Trade shows are awesome, but you tend to spend so much time looking at merchandise that you don’t have the opportunity to slow down and learn,” Henne said. “We thought this would be a great opportunity for that.”

The exact agenda and location for the Jewelers of America National Convention is to be determined, as are ticket prices.

However, the jewelry trade association did say the event will include presentations and discussions on the pressing issues shaping the industry both in the United States and abroad; “compelling” keynote speakers and seminars on top-of-mind challenges for retailers; and networking events including lunches and a JA Member Meet Up & Cocktail Party.

For more information or to sign up for email notifications on convention news, visit

National Jeweler is a for-profit subsidiary of Jewelers of America, which purchased the publication in 2015. The two organizations act independently of each other.

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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.