Despite living in a world of fast-fashion and unlimited choices, millennial women would rather “buy less, buy better”, as revealed in a new “What Women Really Want” survey by KRC Research for the Diamond Producers Association (DPA).
Nearly 1,000 millennial women surveyed revealed a preference for “the real deal” with nearly nine in 10 (89%) looking for authenticity when buying luxury items like diamonds. The survey found that millennial women prefer fewer and finer items, with 94% of the highest earning millennials wanting one more-expensive piece over lots of cheaper ones.
Three quarters (75%) of millennial women see diamond jewelry as an investment in themselves; with the percentage even higher among the highest earning millennials ($150,000+) at 94%. These stats help to explain why millennial self-purchase of diamonds is on the rise, as De Beers’ Diamond Insights Reports for 2016 and 2017 highlight.
In fact, KRC Research found that 85% of those surveyed would be embarrassed to own a “knock-off”, especially for luxury goods that offer modern women a way to visually express their self-confidence. Two in three (66%) millennial women say they feel more confident when wearing diamond jewelry.
“Millennial consumers are defining luxury beyond price,” says Deborah Marquardt, DPA chief marketing officer. “When evaluating luxury purchases, they seek items that are genuine, unique and not mass-produced, and have inherent meaning and value. This preference speaks directly to the diamond promise that in an increasingly artificial world diamonds remain authentic, rare, and precious.”
Delicate & Stackable
Delicate diamond jewelry is popular in re-imagined designs for bracelets, earrings, pendants and rings perfect for stacking and layering. This direction has introduced fine jewelry to a new generation of diamond buyers, says Maren Spence, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Spence cites bolo-style bracelets continuing to be popular in sterling silver and diamonds, in designs from straight line to infinity twist—perfect for an arm party. Nick Parekh for Laxmi Diamond in New York notes that the bolo bracelet trend came from the costume jewelry sector and has really caught on in fine fashion jewelry, even in gold and bigger total carat weights (2 to 3 carats). “Overall, the fashion diamond bracelet category has really picked up.”
The same can be said about earrings, a category undergoing a major renaissance in designs that seek to adorn every part of the ear. “Earrings are doing very well—particularly different takes on jackets, climbers, and front-back styles,” says Spence, who cites a new diamond stud Ostbye designed that comes with diamond circle halo. Three-in-one, it can be worn as a solitaire stud, framed by the halo, or dangling the halo as a drop. Parekh notes that the diamond stud plus look with halo is a big trend, and in yellow gold
Stacking remains a key style direction for diamond bands that can be worn on multiple fingers. The ability to move rings around and wear them in different ways is the height of personalization. Mixing stone shapes and sizes, different metals and metal tones are encouraged.
Delicate diamond pendants also are being layered in different lengths, says Spence. Circles, bars and other geometric shapes, bolo and lariat styles with diamond accents and micro pave are popular. “Consumers are making a personal statement with their jewelry selections in ways they can’t with clothes and other accessories. Jewelry allows one to express many things about themselves all at once by layering different styles.” She notes that people tend to keep their jewelry on day and night and no longer switch jewelry out everyday.
Because millennials are delaying marriage, Parekh says it is incumbent upon the trade to promote more diamond fashion jewelry. Rebecca Foerster for Leo Schachter Diamonds in New York advises jewelers to be more in tune with what’s happening in fashion and how their diamond jewelry translates the trends. “Curate what people should be wearing and show them how to wear it.”