The show might be over, but the industry marches on. In the wake of JCK Las Vegas earlier this month, 6 things have remained not only in the conversation, but also in the minds of industry leaders at large.
- The Industry is Optimistic
While 2015 so far has yielded less-than-expected numbers for jewelry sales, the industry at large doesn’t seem dejected. The show floor was crowded for the run of the expo, and all reports indicate that business was brisk.
De Beers executive vice president of global sightholder sales, Paul Rowley, said, ““we have a sense that…stability has come through. There are a few more days to go, but we are encouraged.”
- Synthetics Are In
Optimism came in the form of lab-grown diamonds. Russian producer New Diamond Technology proudly showcased its 10 ct. man-made stone. No longer the odd exhibitor out, lab-grown gem producers had a prominent role at this year’s JCK Las Vegas.
Although these gems are gaining in popularity, not everyone is certain they are the future of jewelry. “People are worried,” says Don Palmieri, president of Gem Certification and Assurance Lab. “They are worried about appraising; they are worried about accidentally buying them.”
Even so, on the show’s first day, Lisa Bissell, CEO of man-made producer Pure Grown Diamonds, says interest was so high she couldn’t leave her booth. “It’s been a big shift since the last show,” she says. “People have heard about the product for a long time,” she adds. “They just want to see it and touch it and believe it.”
- A Mysterious Color Treatment
GIA hinted at having a color treatment that would temporarily improve diamond color. However, when pressed, all those in the know remained close-mouthed.
Young people are now the generation that dominates retail, including at the jewelry counter. This is bringing up the question: are they more interested in tech than diamonds? While the answer is unclear, some jewelers are getting creative in reaching the most connected generation.
For example, retailer Linda Horrell, co-owner of MarBill Diamonds & Jewelry in Belle Vernon, Pa., says she has been experimenting with social media and digital advertising to reach younger consumers. “We struggle about how to present to millennials,” she says. “It’s such a different way of doing business.”
On the Thursday of JCK Las Vegas, Richline Group sponsored a walk-in wearables exhibit, followed by a standing-room-only panel on the topic.
“We are only just starting to scratch the surface of this emerging category,” said Richline Chief Marketing Officer Mark Hanna. “Wearables will become the newest major category in the jewelry industry.”
- Generic diamond marketing returns
The world’s leading diamond miners announced the formation of the Diamond Producers Association, a group that would, among other things, promote diamonds generically. But don’t expect a complete throwback.
“The organization will focus on areas of consumer desire,” says Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier, “but we have to recognize this isn’t going back to 20 years ago with $100 million budgets all done by De Beers.
Many believe this step was long overdue. “Every other extractive industry has its own group—the Platinum Group, etc.,” says Jim Pounds, executive director of Dominion Diamond Corp.
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