The gem and luxury goods trade is always evolving. Let us take a look at four of the most important trends in the industry today.
Variety in Service
When it comes to precious jewelry, there is a long list of options to choose from based on specific needs and occasions. Some of the most common examples include wedding rings, engagement rings, luxury watches, pendants, and a wide variety of antique jewelry and precious stones like rubies, sapphires, opals, emeralds, and diamonds. Because of this, buyers must do their research and choose a business that offers the finest in custom products and an exceptional level of service at a fair, affordable price.
But while the selling of retail gems has expanded considerably, other areas in the industry are also worth looking into. One of them is the buying of luxury items. Today, the best shops offer their clientele accurate and free appraisals of jewelry and watches along with purchasing and repair options such as resizing, the soldering of bronze and brass alloys, the replacement of diamonds, and many more.
Aimed at the Masses
There are four steps to making a synthetic diamond. First, diamond seeds are made from a repeating lattice of carbon atoms. Second, they are placed in a high temperature, high-pressure reactor and grown to desired specifications. In most cases, temperatures can exceed 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 4,427 °C). Third, the seeds are cut into cubes with a laser, shaping them into polished, faceted gems. In terms of price, a so-called “lab diamond” can cost anywhere between three and ten times less than a natural one.
As we all know, unlike air, potable water, electricity, and access to basic education, gems are not an essential need for human survival. In addition, we live in a time ravaged by political instability, economic struggle, and social upheaval, not to mention a raging pandemic with no clear end in sight. Recognizing this reality, jewelry mining companies and manufacturers are shifting their sales strategies, from a high-end, albeit smaller, customer base to one driven by fast fashion and accessibility.
Fair Trade and Justice
The 2006 Hollywood war drama Blood Diamond earned rave reviews from film critics and audiences alike for its realistic depiction of the diamond conflict in Sierra Leone, Africa, a conflict that has caused this small, impoverished nation millions of lives in the past few decades. It also got Leonardo Di Caprio yet another Oscar nomination for best actor for his portrayal of Danny Archer, a Rhodesian smuggler and mercenary.
Fast-forward 15 years, and many things have changed. Even if there are still many disputes in many African nations and the jewelry business is far from a fair global system, all those involved are starting to recognize that the only way to move forward is for everybody to work together towards a just, fair-trade arena where human rights and safety supersede corporate interests. This includes independent miners, wholesale buyers in places like New Delhi or Goa in India, and luxury shops and gem distributors in London, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Shanghai, Tokyo, and New York.
A Shifting Perception
The vast majority of the top luxury watchmakers in the world are Swiss. Names like Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Hublot, Tag Heuer, and Audemars Piguet have been synonymous with quality, durability, and a sophisticated, higher social standing for years. If you see someone at work or the gym wearing one, you will know they are somebody with a certain status, not to mention the finances to back it up. Unless, of course, it is fake. But even then, you will sense that having such a fine piece of machinery is something this person aspires to one day possess.
As with anything, however, perceptions change, and luxury often gives way to convenience, functionality, and longer battery life. If you were to look at the wrists of 100 different Generation X members or Millenials, chances are you would find more than half of them with an Apple Watch, a Samsung Galaxy Smart 4 Series, a Huawei 3, or any other of the wide variety of intelligent watches currently in the market. For them, being able to conduct meetings, read the news, and measure the steps covered is more important than letting the world know you have enough money for a Swiss-made piece.
Today’s four important trends in the gem and luxury industry are variety and affordability in service, high-end products aimed at the masses, sustainability and justice in trade, and a shifting perception towards technology and convenience. They continue to define people’s purchasing decisions and their choices when buying and selling luxury goods.