Jewelry industry

FIT students are introduced to the jewelry industry at JCK Las Vegas


(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — The Plumb Club has rewarded three of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s top jewelry graduate students with the opportunity to attend their first-ever major jewelry show and experience the industry first-hand at JCK Las Vegas. During the fair, the students met with retailers and offered them guided tours of the Jewelers Resource Center. They also met with Plumb Club manufacturer and supplier members and assisted the Club’s social media team. Additionally, they had the opportunity to network with the wider industry and source gems, components and other services for their own work.

The initiative is part of a multi-pronged program developed by Michael O’Connor of the Plumb Club, with Kim Nelson and Michael Coan of FIT. The program involves pairing students in the jewelry program with industry mentors to provide them with information and guidance, as well as the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, through internships. which can lead to future employment. The program also helps raise the profile of this emerging talent with manufacturers and suppliers by giving students the opportunity to be featured in The Plumb Club newsletter, which is sent to more than 15,000 qualified people in the industry.

The program also offers some of the top students the opportunity to see the industry in action at the annual JCK Las Vegas show. The three lucky graduates this year were Yana Zhu, Skyer Bonolo and Ariana Levy Stern, who each shared how they benefited from The Plumb Club program:

“I learned as much about the industry from the Plumb Club as I learned about the product from school,” said Yana Zhu. “Interacting with my mentor and learning from his experience helped shape my perspective and understanding.”

Skyler Bonolo continues: “It was an incredible opportunity to be selected by The Plumb Club to attend the JCK Show. It was priceless to experience the largest jewelry show in the country for the first time and it was great to be able to connect and network with industry professionals.

Ariana Levy Stern adds: “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to represent The Plumb Club at my first JCK Show. Having a mentor throughout my time at FIT has been very beneficial as a newcomer to the industry and being able to meet and mingle with members after graduation has left me with a wealth of information and relationships.


Since 2021 and over two semesters, the Plumb Club’s “Shaping the Future” program has mentored 10 graduate students, offered numerous internships, various job opportunities, and rewarded 5 students with a hands-on “JCK Experience”.

Kim Nelson, assistant president of the jewelry/fashion design department at FIT concludes that the program has had a huge impact. “I have been thrilled to see the impact the Plumb Club has on our students. These interactions made a significant contribution to their educational experience, and the concepts and ideas they were exposed to carried over into the classroom conversations and work produced by these students; they got a window into the jewelry industry in action that will illuminate their careers for decades to come. I wish I had had access to these incredible opportunities when I was studying in the jewelry design program at FIT in the early 90’s, and I sincerely thank Michael O’Connor and the members of the Plumb Club for making this commitment to fresh minds and hands that will continue to build and shape the jewelry industry.

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