Surveys

10 Retailers on Why They Expect the Diamond Boom to Continue

SurveysOct 21, 2021

10 Retailers on Why They Expect the Diamond Boom to Continue

However, their optimistic outlook comes with a hint of caution due to a number of factors out of their collective control.

holiday21-sales-report-1872x1052.jpg
New York—As you might have read, diamond jewelry sales have been surging as of late.

Will this trend continue through the holiday season? All signs point to yes, so far. 

But that doesn’t mean the 10 retailers recently interviewed by National Jeweler aren’t tempering their rosy outlooks with a bit of caution given economic factors such as inflation and supply chain constraints, continued uncertainty about in-store foot traffic, and just general unease.   

Read on to learn more about what retailers from around the country have been selling so far this year and what they expect to move more of this holiday season.

Northeast: Diamonds Do Well 
For Bellman Jewelers in Manchester, New Hampshire, 2021 has proved to be a strong year, with the jeweler recording some “really excellent months,” David Bellman told National Jeweler.

He added customers have been comfortable visiting the store in person, a trend he expects to continue.

Diamond jewelry has been particularly strong for the retailer this year, led mostly by engagement ring purchases.

The store promotes the category heavily on social media, both to highlight the products it carries and to educate buyers, an added aspect that resonates with shoppers.

This is an approach the store will continue to take as it moves into the holiday season, Bellman said.

Additionally, Bellman Jewelers has been selling a lot of classics, like diamond bracelets and diamond stud earrings.

As the holiday season approaches, Bellman said he expects engagement rings, bands, and diamond staples to continue to do well.

December has always been the biggest month of the year for the store, and he said he doesn’t expect this year to be any different, barring any major events that negatively affect the economy or consumer confidence.

“There are a few economic variables I will keep my eye on that might influence consumer buying habits, depending on their severity,” he said, “but I think it will all turn out well in the end.”

“As we begin to start socializing again, [our clients] want to have a cool, updated look but still want it to be understated and elegant.”— Dawn Hendricks, Peridot Fine Jewelry 

Dawn Hendricks of Peridot Fine Jewelry in Larchmont, New York, said she expects diamonds to do well for the store this holiday season since it’s a category that always does.

Diamonds “represent quality and luxury and value, and they are neutral and match any wardrobe,” she observed. 

Hendricks said her customers are flocking to easy, mask-friendly studs, as well as mismatched studs for those with multiple ear piercings and small hoops with diamond accents.

In particular, the store does a lot of business with TAP by Todd Pownell because clients love his unique approach to designing diamond jewels, Hendricks said.

“I think our client has always been minimalist, but now as we begin to start socializing again, they want to have a cool, updated look but still want it to be understated and elegant.”

Going into the holiday season, she said her biggest concern is making sure the store has enough jewelry stocked; many of their designer partners work 10-12 weeks out rather than the usual 4-6 weeks, making it “nearly impossible” to fill in at the last minute and requiring them to carefully judge quantities needed for each category and price point.

Hendricks is “hopeful” clients will be healthy and happy to shop in store more, continuing a trend that started this fall. She added that many likely will continue to research and buy online as well.

“As our clients attend more events and travel, hopefully they will be excited about buying some new accessories for their winter and spring wardrobe,” she said.

Southeast: Cautiously Optimistic
“Diamonds are really king when it comes to fashion jewelry these days,” said Matthew Rosenheim, CEO at Tiny Jewel Box in Washington, D.C. “It’s a dominant category.”

For the holidays, Tiny Jewel Box will stock up on diamond jewelry above other categories, including gold jewelry and colored gemstones.

Classic pieces, like studs and tennis bracelets, have always been holiday favorites but are even more important now when people aren’t out and about as much as in years past.

“When it comes to more high-end diamond jewelry we are being very cautious,” Rosenheim explained. “There’s diminished action for jewelry for black-tie events.”

But that doesn’t mean the store isn’t making big sales.

“There are plenty of affluent customers out there but wearability is key and relation to lifestyle is very important. We need casual expensive things—things that can be worn not just for our fanciest occasions, which most of us are doing a lot of less of.”

What’s been interesting for the D.C. store is the uptick in carat weight for engagement rings.

“The average stone size has really increased relatively dramatically,” Rosenheim noted, not just for more “mature buyers” with greater spending power, but for first-time bridal customers too.

The 1.5-carat to 5-carat stones are selling well, with a huge increase in sales of 3-carat and 4-carat diamonds. After round brilliant cuts, ovals are big, followed by emerald and radiant cuts.   

All of this is cause for a positive holiday outlook but Rosenheim is still concerned about the lack of foot traffic in the area compared to years past.

“We are located in a central business district where people haven’t returned to the office,” he explained.

Tiny Jewel Box is a destination and benefitting from the health of the market, but it is unprecedented for so many federal government employees, as well as the related lobbyists, attorneys, etc., in the D.C. ecosystem to be working remotely.

“Related industries really take cues off of the governments,” he explained. “That’s a concern out of my control. We’re still having success and growth despite that fact.”

Allen’s Jewelers in Albany, Georgia can attest to the surging jewelry sales much of the industry has experienced since the pandemic started.

Steve Allen said that 2021 sales have been “way ahead” of where the store would typically be going into the holiday season. 

“We’ve sold more engagement rings this year than we ever have,” he noted.

One-carat diamonds are a good seller for them, but they try to have a couple of 1.5-carat, 2-carat, and 3-carats in stock too. 

“We’re still selling a lot more rounds than anything else,” said Allen, “but there’s an uptick in people asking for ovals and cushions.”

The store sells engagement rings mainly from June through the end of the year, so it should be a significant part of holiday sales per usual.

“We’re just hoping for the best, but preparing for everything.”— Steve Allen, Allen’s Jewelers

Outside of bridal, Allen’s Jewelers customers are buying lots of diamond flex bangles, halo pendants in assorted shapes, and lots of diamond earrings. 

Despite how great business is, Allen tempers any holiday season predictions with a bit of caution.

“We’re just hoping for the best, but preparing for everything,” Allen said. “We’re always concerned because of the way the economy is going but people are spending money because they’re not traveling as much.” 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Midwest: A Merry and Bright Holiday, Heavy on the Custom Designs
At Josephs Jewelers in West Des Moines, Iowa, Vice President Trisha Josephs is preparing for a happy holiday.

The store has stocked up on diamond fashion jewelry and trendy yellow gold pieces. Estate jewelry and colored stones were also on its inventory wish list.

“We mostly purchase our color loose and design around the stones,” said Josephs.

The jeweler recently added Roberto Coin to its selection and has high hopes for its performance this season.

Founded in 1871 by Solomon Joseph, its first store opened in downtown Des Moines followed by a second in West Des Moines.

The 150-year-old jeweler has fared well through many holiday seasons but is concerned about running out of inventory this year as supply chain constraints plague retailers across industries.

In McCook, Nebraska, Bill Longnecker of Longnecker Jewelry also forecasted a merry and bright selling season.

He stocked up on diamond studs this year, a category that’s been in a slump for the past 10 years in his store, though new diamond advertising campaigns may have given it the boost it needed, said Longnecker.

The Natural Diamond Council introduced a new campaign in August highlighting the good mined diamonds do around the world and launched the second iteration of “For Moments Like No Other” in September.

Also, De Beers is set to unveil a new marketing campaign built around the iconic tagline “A Diamond is Forever” later this month.

“People are getting very worried about the future; they frequently discuss this with us on the sales floor. When people start openly voicing their opinions in public, it is a bad sign.”— Bill Longnecker, Longnecker Jewelry 

Diamond jewelry sales account for about 60 percent of Longnecker Jewelry’s overall sales, so that trend is expected to continue through the holidays.

Pearl jewelry sales have also been on the rise, but the bestsellers may be the store’s one-of-a-kind designs.

“This is new for us but we have committed to stocking more of our own creations this holiday,” he said.

While his overall outlook for the season is positive, Longnecker has noticed a lot of negative talk from his customers as the cost of living rises alongside inflation.

“People are getting very worried about the future; they frequently discuss this with us on the sales floor. When people start openly voicing their opinions in public, it is a bad sign,” he said.

But with a well-trained staff, the right mix of inventory, and a new flyer, Longnecker is hopeful for a strong holiday season.
South Central: Meeting Demand
In Fort Smith, Arkansas, Kelly Newton of Newton’s Jewelers said the store has been experiencing diamond fever since about April 2020. 

“Very little hasn’t been hot in the last year and a half,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s radiants, rounds cushions, or ovals, we can’t keep anything in stock.” 

Newton said the store is buying diamonds daily to replace what they sell, and larger stones on average than in years past, with the 2- to 6-carat range particularly in demand.

“Larger stones are the real strange thing,” he said. “It’s consistent. That’s the really unbelievable part.”

In addition to bridal jewelry, diamond stud earrings are a major seller.  

Ahead of the holidays Newton Jewelers is doing its best to stock up as much as possible on “anything we can find.” 

The store just brought in a bridal jewelry line new to it, Christopher Designs. Typically, they don’t introduce new brands in the fourth quarter but it’s indicative of the demand they’re seeing. (In total, Newton’s Jewelers carries about nine bridal lines.) 

Still, Newton doesn’t take this kind of business for granted. There are so many unknowns in the pandemic era that he’d be foolish not to be a little cautious.

“It’s too much stuff going on in this world; it’s very distracting. At any one time we don’t know what could happen. I’m concerned about a lot of the politics and things related to that that could certainly put some fear in people,” said Newton.

In general, “Commerce is having some problems and that has affected us. Demand is so intense that some of our suppliers are having a real problem supplying any of us.”

“I’m taking more design risks this year.” — Susan Eisen, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches  

Susan Eisen of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches in El Paso, Texas forecasts a terrific holiday season this year.

“I’m very hopeful. I think it’s going to be a great year,” she said.

She is seeing an increased interest in fancy shapes in the diamond jewelry category, with her clientele gravitating toward cushions, pears, marquises, and ovals. 

With the conversation about lab-grown diamonds ever increasing she predicts greater demand for natural diamonds from the brands she stocks, like De Beers-owned Forevermark. 

While one sector of the market might have interest in lab-growns, Eisen thinks it helps to highlight the specialness of diamonds the Earth has created, making them even more sought after.

Eisen is known for her custom work and has a lot planned heading into the holidays. 

“I’m taking more design risks this year,” she said. 

Rather than tennis bracelets and other classics, she’s focusing on interesting pieces with multiple stones in various shapes.

“I’m venturing out this year and using a lot of my inventory,” said Eisen. “We’re using a mixture of stone sizes in one piece, whereas before I was a little more conservative.” 

Now she’s “becoming more open to trying new things.”

For these one-of-a-kind designs it’s all about finding more clientele who cannot only afford big pieces, but also appreciate design and uniqueness. “It’s a limited market,” she said.

Her biggest concern, however, is just being able to handle the custom requests over the holidays, which has been an issue for several years.

Decades ago, Eisen explained, people would start planning Christmas shopping as early as October. 

Today, she’ll get custom requests in the week leading up to Christmas, and sometimes she needs four to six weeks to complete them.

West: A Story of Lab-Grown Growth
Bill Sakkab of Desert Diamond Jewelers in Henderson, Nevada (just outside Las Vegas) said he’s been having his best year on record.

The store sells high-end secondhand goods and has recently been doing particularly well in pre-owned Rolexes, Sakkab said, and is gearing up for the big engagement season.

He said the millennial consumer group is looking for custom engagement rings, largely doing their research online and bringing in pictures of what they like to get started. He also noted they aren’t shying away from bridal priced anywhere from $4,000 up to even $8,000.

Sakkab added that they’ve seen a slight uptick in requests for lab-grown diamonds, which the store is happy to accommodate.

Ultimately, with bridal, rounds are still king, followed by emerald cuts, but they’ve also had a few requests for marquise cuts in the past few weeks, he said.

As a store that is constantly buying from the public, they have plenty of goods in their inventory and so haven’t been stocking up on anything in particular ahead of the holidays.

The store also doesn’t rely on an uptick in sales during the holidays. When it was located in a mall, that might have been true, Sakkab told National Jeweler, but since they moved into a plaza, spending is spread more evenly throughout the year.

Still, he expects the season to be a good one as the store continues to be “unbelievably busy.”

Business at Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, California has “been on a tear” since COVID-19, Debbie Fox told National Jeweler, but added that the “realistic possibility that this will slow or reverse” is a part of the store’s long-term planning.

“There’s a direct correlation between the stock market and our revenues.”— Debbie Fox, Fox Fine Jewelry 

She noted there is a “clear, prominent upward trend” in lab-grown diamond sales. As the store heads into the holiday season, they’re stocking a larger inventory of diamond fashion jewelry and lab-grown diamond basics.

And since new trends usually come from shoppers buying for themselves, she expects to see more trends pop up during the holiday season, even though the proportion of trendy item sales will be lower than they are throughout the year since more holiday gifts are purchased by men.

“That said, we’ve increased our inventory of diamond ear cuffs, station necklaces with diamond dangles, and significantly increased the proportion of yellow gold [we carry].”

Fox said she expects higher price points to win out this season—unless, that is, there’s a major economic change.

“There’s a direct correlation between the stock market and our revenues,” she said, noting specific concerns about repercussions from China’s real estate market and the U.S. debt ceiling.

And yet, she’s optimistic. If everything continues as it has this year, “it’s a good thing we hired three additional salespeople.”

Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

The Latest

Bulgari high jewelry campaign
FinancialsJul 24, 2024
LVMH’s First-Half Jewelry, Watch Sales Dip 5%

Tiffany & Co. is focusing on its “iconic” collections while the company has made changes at the top at TAG Heuer and Hublot.

Chaumet Paris 2024 Olympics medals
MajorsJul 24, 2024
See Chaumet’s Paris Olympic Medals Inspired by its High Jewelry

The Parisian brand is the first jewelry company in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to design the medals.

Jewelers Mutual and Union Life and Casualty logos
MajorsJul 24, 2024
Jewelers Mutual Acquires Pawnbroker Insurance Provider

Union Life & Casualty will join JM Insurance Agency Partners, expanding the provider’s pawnbroker coverage.

Untitled design.jpg
Brought to you by
The End of an Era? Lab-Grown Diamonds' Journey Towards Price Stability

As the demand for lab-grown diamond jewelry may still be increasing, the most notable change we are likely to see is price stabilization.

Bradlei Smith
MajorsJul 24, 2024
Ben Bridge Announces 2024 Lonia Tate Scholarship Winner

Los Angeles-based Bradlei Smith was selected for this year’s award.

Weekly QuizJul 18, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these questions.
Take the Quiz
National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsJul 23, 2024
Peter Smith: The Case for Optimism in Sales

In his latest column, Smith shares multiple reasons why people who look at the glass as being hall full often make better salespeople.

De Beers rough diamond display
SourcingJul 23, 2024
De Beers’ Production Drops 15% in Q2

The company also reported the $150 million sale of an iron ore royalty right, part of its ongoing effort to divest “non-core” assets.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Long’s Jewelers giveaway promo
IndependentsJul 23, 2024
Long’s Jewelers Is Giving Away a Luxury Cape Cod Vacation

The giveaway is part of the New England jeweler’s summer bridal event.

Sophia Moreno-Bunge of Isa Isa modeling Guzema’s Hidden Beauty collection
CollectionsJul 23, 2024
Guzema Debuts ‘Flower Power’ Campaign

The ad features three celebrity florists creating floral sculptures while wearing jewelry by Guzema.

Tresia Shituula, Monkgogi Moshaga, Mohamed Samu
Policies & IssuesJul 23, 2024
Diamonds Do Good Announces Its 2024 Entrepreneurship Grant Winners

The grant provided a total of $100,000 to support 13 entrepreneurs from diamond communities in Africa and India.

Ghazi “Gus” Michel Osta
CrimeJul 22, 2024
Florida Jeweler Shot, Killed Following Argument With Customer

Ghazi Michel Osta, or “Gus,” was killed Friday by an 83-year-old man said to be a frequent customer at his store, Volusia Gold & Diamond.

Elyssa Jenkins-Perez and Effie Marinos
Policies & IssuesJul 22, 2024
JVC’s Elyssa Jenkins-Pérez Joins RJC

The organization also announced Effie Marinos as its new specialist advisor for technical standards, as well as four other appointments.

Karen Rentmeesters
SourcingJul 22, 2024
AWDC Names Karen Rentmeesters as CEO

Rentmeesters has served as interim CEO since April following former CEO Ari Epstein’s resignation.

Brian and Jessie Mann
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
Longtime D.C. Jeweler Brian Mann Dies at 70

Mann, whose family’s jewelry store was located inside the Pentagon, is remembered for being a thoughtful champion of the industry.

Tudor store in Denver
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
The 1916 Company Opens New Tudor Boutique

The 500-square-foot boutique is located in Denver’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

Messika’s So Move Max Necklace
CollectionsJul 19, 2024
Piece of the Week: Messika’s ‘So Move Max’ Necklace

Dance all night long with the “So Move Max” set’s necklace.

Julien Tornare and Antoine Pin
WatchesJul 18, 2024
TAG Heuer, Hublot Will Have New CEOs

Luxury giant LVMH is reshuffling the leadership in its watches division.

Etsy billboard rendering in NYC
MajorsJul 18, 2024
New Etsy Campaign Prioritizes Creators Amid Backlash

Sellers and shoppers have spoken out against a rise in mass-produced merchandise on the platform meant to highlight handmade goods.

Ariana Grande Modeling in Swarovski Jewelry
MajorsJul 18, 2024
Swarovski Names Ariana Grande as Its New Brand Ambassador

The celebrity will star in Swarovski’s holiday campaign.

Grizzly emerald
SourcingJul 18, 2024
Grizzly Emerald Auction Garners $32.5 million

The miner said an 835-carat emerald saw “stiff competition” in its July sale.

Tahnee Barbee, Gigi Sui, and Daniela Villacorta
Events & AwardsJul 18, 2024
MJSA Education Foundation Announces 3 Scholarship Winners

The winners were awarded $3,000 each to pursue a professional career in jewelry making and design.

Radhika Merchant’s Wedding Portrait
EditorsJul 17, 2024
6 Lavish Looks from the Ambani Wedding

Feast your eyes on the elaborate jewels worn during the wedding celebration of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

Smiling Rocks Haute Couture Dream Necklace
Lab-GrownJul 17, 2024
Lab-Grown Diamond ‘Dream’ Necklace Sells for $122K at Charity Auction

The piece, created by Smiling Rocks, was the top lot at the recent Ormeley Dinner.

Diavik Diamond Mine solar power plant
SourcingJul 17, 2024
Rio Tinto’s Diamond Production Down 28% in Q2

The company’s sole remaining diamond operation, Diavik, produced 702,000 carats of diamonds, down from 970,000 a year ago.

Buccellati high jewelry earrings
FinancialsJul 17, 2024
Richemont’s Q1 Jewelry Sales Up 2%

In contrast, the luxury giant’s watch sales fell 14 percent.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest.
Events & AwardsJul 16, 2024
2024 AGTA Spectrum Awards Open for Entries

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest and the deadline for entries has just been extended.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy