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24 opinions on the situation in the jewelry industry after coronavirus: as presented by international specialists

We have visited them in their home offices and they have showed us how they spend their free time (link to the first article). Now it is time to find out what piece of jewelry they are going to buy after the lockdown and what the industry will look like according to jewelry specialists from around the world.

 

Barbara Palumbo is a popular jewelry and watch journalist, writer, speaker, and podcaster from the United States whose resume includes over two decades of experience in the industries. Find her on social media at @adornmentality and @whatsonherwrist.

The jewelry and watch industries are going to see some serious change when this is all over. I feel very strongly about this; that this era will result in the “survival of the fittest.” Those who continues to work their tales off during these last 6+ weeks or so will be the ones that will most benefit when its all over. This who skated through the pandemic and complained about the state of the world will be the ones who will be damaged most. Attitude is everything. And I feel that we will see the weaker retailers, and even some jewelry and watch brands fade away. But I also feel that the concept of the trade fair will change dramatically. While being able to see, touch, and examine jewelry and watches in person is irreplaceable, there are far too many fairs being held around the world. Fairs that have managed to treat their buyers, exhibitors, and media guests with respect and courtesy will survive and thrive; fairs like Vicenzaoro and Watches & Wonders in Geneva. Shows that have done nothing but force guests to spend exorbitant amount of money to attend, will suffer. 

 

 

David Brough is Co-Founder and Editor of global digital magazine Jewellery Outlook. Before that he was a foreign correspondent for many years, and was based in Latin America and continental Europe including in Italy where he first became involved in the jewellery world.

I believe that we will enter a prolonged and severe global economic downturn. Many brick-and-mortar jewellery businesses will ultimately fail and jobs will be lost. Digital sales and customer service will be of paramount importance. I suspect there will be a burst of “revenge shopping” as the lockdowns ease around the world, but it will take longer for high-value jewellery purchases to gear up. We will see a new wave of “emotional technology” and more emotional self-purchase of jewellery, eg talismans.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katerina Perez is a jewellery insider and tastemaker with a global view on the industry specialising in high-end jewellery as well as precious gemstones.

It is the survival of the strongest and all of us will have to adjust to the circumstances that the virus has put us in. While we are in confinement, it is the right time to think of future development, review collection and look for new ways of communicating with clients as well as marketing jewellery. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Albornoz Figueras. An enthusiastic editor with more than 11 years of experience in printed media. Her innovative vision has led to the recognition of Velvet Magazine in Venezuela and the rest of the world.

Without a doubt, I will buy sustainable jewelry. After this time of introspection, I identify myself with jewels that tell a story, respect humanity, and have an ethical sense in the processes of creation. I celebrate how the industry has faced this crisis, I firmly believe that it is time to renew itself, the old schemes left behind, we face a new reality. I identify with what Roberto Coin said in an interview with Vanity Fair: Business will pass, but people will not. You have to invest in people. They are the ones who give value to a brand, who give their soul so that everything shines. That is the magic of jewelry. At all times they shine, even in the worst circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

Yutaka Fukasawa. Japan Precious Magazine Chief Editor

Japanese jewelry industry will a sharp decrease in sales in the short term. Some of jewelry companies will not be able to continue their business because most of Jewelers are small or family companies. They don’t have enough cash if this crisis continue 6 month or more in case of no sales but same expense. After this crisis The market totally change from traditional supply chain to New supply chain. which means that online sales increase and event sales will decrease. And also consumer mind change from entity-oriented consumption to situation-oriented consumption.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avi Krawitz. Senior Analyst and News Editor for the Rapaport Group, with over 13 years’ experience providing high-level editorial content, research and analysis about the diamond industry.

My job is to analyse the diamond market and we have to recognize that the industry will shrink in the short term. But there’s also opportunity for the trade and I’m encouraged by the tremendous good that the diamond and jewellery industry has done to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. That includes financially as well as its support for various communities around the world. I think consumers will recognize that and it will endear them to our product even more because people want to associate with products and companies that have the same positive values as they do, especially in such challenging times. I think this experience will influence people to value their relationships with others. Humans aren’t meant to be isolated. If anything, quarantine goes against our nature and highlights how much we need each other. When all this is over, people will crave meaningful moments more than ever, presenting the diamond and jewellery industry an opportunity to tap into the emotion that its product uniquely represents.

 

 

Sonia Esther Soltani is the editor in chief at Rapaport, overseeing the monthly trade magazine, JewelryConnoisseur.net blog, Instagram @rapaportmagazine as well as hosting a podcast on estate jewelry.

I am planning on having more ear piercings and curate an ear party featuring a few hoops and talismanic studs, most likely in rose-gold.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irina Slesareva, managing editor in Jewellery Review Magazine in Moscow.

According to my observations, jewelry retail and jewelry manufacturers, not only in Russia, were not ready for online sales because until this time they worked to attract traffic to offline stores and shops. Currently not everyone is able to reform, some do not even have online platforms. Many companies need time to adapt to new formats of working with clients, new marketing. Now jewelers need to find new ways of interacting with customers to convince them that jewelry is needed no less than essential goods and that jewelry doesn`t go out of fashion. It is a difficult task. Perhaps, after COVID-19 the interest in Art & Craft and Bespoke will grow because these jewelers feel the least vulnerable, they do not have large production facilities and loans, they can offer individual design and customer approach, this works well at all times.

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Keight is the owner of Jewellery World Magazine the largest and preferred industry publication for Australia and New Zealand.

As a magazine we have often pushed the industry through our editorials, to be more connected online and the jewellery industry in Australia, to a degree, has been embracing this. Saying that I do not feel anyone was prepared for this turn of events and only totally online businesses were anywhere near ready. The issue with this type of crisis is that online businesses do not always have the stock at hand and when the whole world goes into lock down, where do they draw stock from? And bricks and mortar have the stock locked in their stores but not the strong online presence. There are lessons to be learnt from this crisis and all the information is out there to be better prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samit Bhatta, Retail Jeweller Media Publisher with Passion to Connect the Indian and World Jewellery Markets.

The Jewellery industry will come back to 100% levels very slowly, after COVID19. Jewellery is discretionary spending, and the World has changed quite a bit now. It will be the basics first and then slowly luxury spending will begin. In India, if we are able to achieve 50% to 60% Jewellery Sales between Oct to Dec and then 75% to 100% levels between Jan-March, we will consider ourselves blessed. However post April 2021, it will be a brilliant phase for Jewellery industry as there will be a huge Economic Rebound and also the fear of the Pandemic will go away, and things will become normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emil Akhundov, art-director of The M.O.S.T. luxury lifestyle magazine, editor of Style section at Sputnik.az, press-officer of Azerbaijan Fashion Week.

I think that in jewellery industry, as well as in publishing business, in our country the restoring process will be quite painful. I don’t have any exact numbers about a drop in jewelry sales in Azerbaijan, but I am sure that it is significant. The economy of our country mostly based on oil and gas prices, which are now, in addition to COVID-19, are also a reason for depression for our government. However, they implemented a number of measures in connection with a reduction of a negative impact of COVID-19, which are include one-time financial assistance for the unemployed and a refund of 70% of taxes paid by micro business owners during 2019. What I am trying to do now is to stay positive, to clear my mind of horrible predictions that I find in internet so often and to focus on work, following the principle of The Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

 

 

 

 

Jen Cullen Williams is an award-winning, US-based brand communications consultant that specializes in enhancing market exposure and customer connections for brands, retailers and organizations in the jewelry, luxury, fashion and consumer goods industries through creativity and strategy.

The jewellery industry NEEDS to become more digital and find better ways to virtually connect with consumers online. Jewellers need to be thinking about their full digital footprint from optimizing their website, enhancing the shopper experience online, creating authentic social media content, using video on all their digital platforms, collaborating with targeted influencers and the list goes on. At the end of the day, companies need to remember their customers are human, and as humans we are missing our social interaction right now. If jewellers can be there to support their customers, bring them joy through their purchases and also be a virtual escape, then the jeweller has done their job. It’s all about the digital experience – and humanizing it. The jewelry I’m craving right now is layers of gold chains with personalized and symbolic talisman pendants.”

 

 

 

Kina Andersson. Freelancing journalist and editor with passion for jewellery and storytelling. Based in Sweden.

I made an interview with a Swedish goldsmith the other day, and what she said quite summons up what I think the industry is going through: “As an entrepreneur I first I panicked, thinking no one will ever buy jewellery again. Then I realized people still will be born, have birthdays, get married and want to spoil themselves with beautiful things – and I calmed down. As a designer/artist the crisis seem to deepen my creativity! The crazier times get, my mind gets busier and I have a lot of new ideas.” 

When this is over (and it will be!) I think we will see a lot of new ideas and behaviour, both from consumers and industry: New collaborations, new trading solutions – and maybe new designs, sprung from corona crisis.”

 

 

 

 

Esther Ligthart. I am a jewelry blogger, freelance contributor to trade magazines and consultant with 25 years of international experience in jewelry sales and jewelry marketing.

The observations are many. In short I feel it’ll be a different world after we passed this crisis. ( Note: I think you mean my work more than a general insight about the jewelry industry post-Covid-19, right? So I’ll try to stick to that) For me, I feel very passionate about certain topics. Such as aiming higher as an industry. More radical transparency, more connection between the players in the industry but also between brands and consumers. I feel that we need to communicate much better with consumers. I said it before, and I will say it as many times as needed: we need to get off our high horses and really connect with the audience. You, Agate and Katarzyne, are doing a great job at this. You talk and show images that people can relate to, without feeling this it’s just aspirational. We need more people doing this! 

I am preparing two things: Storytelling, in sales and communications and how to become a forecaster. With this, I am trying to explain how to look at the world around you, in order to understand where communication and design will be about. Just to be clear; I am not a trend forecaster, but I know how to look around. Again, as a generalist, I tend to see the larger picture. Which is something everyone can learn and do. 

I am back also to my old love: the Italian jewelry world. It’s where I fell in love with jewelry a long time ago. I lived and worked for 10 years in Valenza, one of the capitals of the jewelry world. I am currently working with some brands to transit from the old marketing world of boasting about all the USP’s to actually connect with future clients and relevant marketing approaches. 

This moment is not just one to only say glorifying inspirational things about. Truth is that for both people who work in jewelry as for so many others from every other industry, these are worrying times. Social security systems are failing in many countries. And we all know someone who actually died from this terrible disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. It’s challenging and that, for way too many people, is a euphemism. I feel deep empathy with all those who work so hard right now to care for those struggling. There is loneliness and despair, worry and pain. And if anything, business should not be as usual after we get back to live our full lives. We are doing something wrong and we need to fix this. Respect for climates, for people, for animals should lead us, also in our way of doing business to find that humanity inside us again. To do good. To be ethical. Money is very important. But companies that employ very few people but create wealth for just a handful of people, aren’t worth anything. There is more beauty to be found in radical transparency and true authenticity. And to bring that back to jewelry; there is so much more beauty in any stone almost in my eyes, than in a flawless big diamond. I never found anything to discover, no new angle, nothing but a brilliant yet cold sparkle. Let’s celebrate the uniqueness of nature, the interpretation of all these genius designers out there. Let’s endorse those brands that show us their inner values and how they make a difference. Let’s be better!”

 

 

Nikki Phinyapincha. A brand reputation management consultant with over 7 years’ experience in jewelry and tourism & hospitality industry, I focus on partnering, adding value and helping my clients in Thailand & ASEAN to exceed their business goal.

I foresee that COVID19 is still on its way probably till year end or next year. The situation on the jewelry industry could be forecasted accordingly to the buyer’s behaviors. At some point I think the industry might be seen slow but I believe there are some opportunities of festive season/wedding/Christmas celebration, etc.. if brands or entrepreneurs can fully adapt into digital assess where they communicate, keep relations and learn more about their customers. And don’t forget that brands story and personalized service are a must hence you can be different and give a unique value for your customer’s reason to trust/love and buy your brands. Other point of view, it can also see that people will be crazily spending after quarantine especially China that doesn’t appeal to lay-off issue and people still have spending power. 

If I would like to buy jewelry after covid19, I would consider the style/design with touching story that connects me with meaningful vibe. And I would definitely support brand that does charity/ donation projects to support those in need or sustainability. Jewelry to me is a style not goods. It needs to represent who I am.

 

 

Manon is an international silver-haired model, social micro-influencer (who loves spotlighting rare & beautiful people, places and things), and founder of Manon des Sources hair care company for natural silver hair.

I think more and more jewelry companies will follow suit with other companies and reach out to influencers more. I just read a statistic that throughout the stay-at-home time people have been on Instagram 70% more than before. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been contacted by two global clothing companies, two natural skincare companies, a couple supplements companies, a bedding company, and a high jewelry manufacturer for influencer work. We just don’t know when we’ll be able to go out and into stores again or what that will look like when it does happen. Until then, people are on line. I hope and pray for my jewelry friends and their companies. If there’s one thing we need in times like these its beauty . . . and they certainly have that mastered.

 

 

 

 

Debbie Whiting, publisher Jewellery Time Magazine, New Zealand.

Both these are hard questions, it will be the economic effect that will hit our industry hard, until retail shops are open we will not know to what extent. So far in New Zealand we have had only 19 deaths but the country was in full lockdown for 33 days. Many will question if our government did the right thing, but there is no place else I would have rather been, I will buy a special piece of jewellery in the coming months I have a significant birthday coming up and also a wedding anniversary, these special occasions must be celebrated with a piece jewellery to remind us of these milestones.

 

 

 

 

 

Marco Carniello. I am a manager, a watch collector and a triathlete. A European citizen, Italian with a Swiss mother, a French wife, I studied in Spain and worked in the UK, but am still fascinated by Asia.

I am heavily relying on the recovery of the Chinese market ahead of other countries. China is already worth more than 30% of luxury purchases and a quick recovery will help the whole industry. It will take a while for consumption to recover and there could even be a shift in purchasing from travelling to products such as jewellery. If people will be travelling less, they could invest in jewellery instead… Me personally, I would buy a piece of jewellery at the end of this crisis, something to remind me of the moment we finally got out of it! And it would probably be a vintage watch for me – the jewel would rather be a gift. 

 

 

 

 

 

Preeta Agarwal is an award-winning, multi-talented jewellery specialist from New Delhi, India who travels the world in search of the most exquisite jewels & knowledge.

 I think, the various hats that I wear as a journalist, blogger, consultant, stylist; would help to handle this situation better. I might lose work in some areas but my hard work, in-depth knowledge and expertise on the subject of jewellery would always bring somee project or thee other my way. This will be tough for a few months but I am supporting all my clients as much as I can and I receive the same love in return.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Murat Başsoy. Gold Book Magazine is an international jewelry magazine with a 25-year history in the industry. It is the most followed jewelry publication in the Gulf region and Turkey.

This is a completely unexpected, unpredictable, new situation. That’s why it’s so hard to make a guess. The jewelry industry will always maintain its presence. People’s needs to look different, to create style will continue. Time and forms will change, but needs will not change. At this point, companies that are already strong will get through this period by getting stronger. Small embroideries can also use the ability to be flexible. They can adapt to innovations more quickly. The biggest challenge will be for firms that are unable to adjust their funding balance under a long-term deadlock. The periods when creativity peaked have always been the result of great battles or great difficulties. We believe that a very creative process awaits us after such great closure. We hope to be reunited on good days.

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony DeMarco is a writer and editor who specializes in luxury jewelry and watches. His stories have appeared in publications around the world, including Forbes.com, The Economist 1843 Magazine, Rapaport Magazine, Upscale Living Magazine, VO+ and the Financial Times.

I finished a long in-depth story for the May issue of Rapaport Magazine on the effect that coronavirus has had on the industry. The people I spoke with are predicting that a lot of small family owned business that make up so much of the jewelry industry are going to have to close. A lot of the large retail chains in the US are in big trouble and are starting to file for bankruptcy. Jewelry and retail are highly leveraged businesses by nature (upfront costs of materials for jewelry manufacturers and designers, upfront purchasing costs for retailers, etc.). Whoever bought their products or materials at the wrong time will be in deep trouble. Regarding my profession, publishing has been in decline for years and this pandemic will be death blow for many companies. Finding work is going to be more difficult with fewr publications and more writers out-of-work competing for business.

 

 

Jennifer Heebner has been writing about fine jewelry for 23 years and is the founder of JenniferHeebner.com.

Times of crisis are fascinating from a business perspective; people either push into the storm or shrink away from it. Just like during the Great Recession, the businesses that stayed in front of consumers, that experimented with new products, communication, or events, were still in business when the economy self-corrected. This will be the same with the pandemic. You have to constantly give people a reason to think of you, to remember you instead of your competitor, and if you are not doing anything to even try to stay top of mind, then you won’t be when the crisis ends. People want to connect, regardless of the industry, so continually try to stay in touch if you want to stay in business. 

As far as jewelry after the lockdown, I like having custom pieces made. I bought some loose pearls in Tucson this year and now have to source some colored stones to go with them. I also can’t wait to get back to Hong Kong to buy more pearls. Pearls are my weakness.

 

 

 

 

Michelle Orman is president of Last Word Communications and she spearheads the Communications and Public Relations for the COUTURE Show, U.S. Antiques Shows, and JA New York Shows, as well as a select group of independent fine jewelry designers and brands. She is also the host of the COUTURE Podcast.

Without question, the world is going to look extremely different in the aftermath of this global pandemic. With that said, I remain steadfast in my belief that art and beauty are at the foundation of a functioning society, and the jewelry and gemstones that our industry represent, and our inherent, human desire to adorn ourselves, are not going anywhere. I also believe that in-person events, and their ability to facilitate relationship building while also providing an opportunity to showcase jewelry in person, will remain critical. I hope that I can continue to be effective in leveraging my relationships and my knowledge of this fabulous industry in helping to create and implement whatever the “new normal” looks like in terms of in-person events, while also leaning into the reliance we’ve all recently developed on virtual connection, and helping to develop and support clever ways in which we can all celebrate, support and elevate one another. 

 

 

 

Cynthia Unninayar. A 25-year veteran of the jewelry and gem industry, Cynthia Unninayar travels the world to bring her readers the many fascinating stories of gem mines and the original creations of talented designers who use these gems. www.gemscene.com

My opinion is that the industry is resilient. It has weathered other crises in the past, notably the great recession of 2008-09, and should make a comeback once the virus situation is under control. Having said that, however, some things will inevitably change. Some small and/or under-capitalized companies won’t survive, and others will be forced to revisit their marketing activities. One of the changes will be a greater move towards social media as designers try to reach the final customer directly. We have already seen lower attendance and participation in trade fairs as brands/designers seek alternative routes to sell their products. This crisis has also seen some jewelry designers thinking outside the jewelry box, so to speak. One in particular is an American designer who sells face masks with gemstone designs on the cloth… a very clever way to promote her brand while helping with the face mask shortage. The industry will survive and along with it editors and writers who talk about gems and jewelry. 

 

 

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An influencer and a jewelry brand strategist, I author BLINGSIS, the first Polish jewelry web portal (formerly Pica Pica). Four years into our online activity, we received the Runner-Up title awarded by International Jewellery London (IJL) for the Best Jewelry Blog in the World.