Research finds two in five consumers choose diamond jewelry as the gift they most desire to give or receive.
Consumers are adapting to the new normal, demand for diamonds continues, and diamonds retain broad appeal across consumer segments. Those are the three key findings the De Beers Group revealed in its 2020 Diamond Insight report. Released in November, it collates key findings from the company’s consumer research undertaken after COVID-19 emerged.
Research finds two in five consumers (38%)choose diamond jewelry as the gift they most desire to give or receive. Since travel, which has long been the main competitor to diamonds as a means of creating memories, has been so restricted, the market for diamonds has benefited.
In the current climate, customers who do have money to spend are mindful of how they spend it, considering showy excess inappropriate. As in other periods of crisis, De Beers’ research showed that many people are gravitating to what they know and trust, making timeless classics like solitaires attractive through their association with strength and security.
Since consumers increasingly seek designs with a personal touch, classic-with-a-twist styles have been popular. While younger consumers continue to show more interest in innovative designs, the report finds.
“We’re thrilled people are buying diamonds,” shares Russell Weisenberg, vice president of sales for Aneri Jewels in New York City, acknowledging that lack of travel and not buying other things like apparel or electronics, have given people more disposable income and jewelry is such a great gift to give and receive.
“Our customers sell to middle America, and we’re seeing an uptick in new jewelry sales,” says Weisenberg, who notes that consumers are buying better quality diamonds in engagement rings. He concurs that wardrobe staples are driving most of the diamond fashion jewelry business, with good design key.
Tried & True
Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development for Original Design Inc. (ODI) says that in classic jewelry, the trends she is seeing are for bigger diamonds, graduated diamond styles, and diamond intensive designs that are more freeform and show less metal.
“ODI has had a lot of requests for larger, diamond-intensive hoops and vertical/drop earrings, with round, pear or marquise diamonds; all diamond with very little gold showing,” Fletcher shares. “This is interesting because pre-Covid, we were doing really well with mini studs that would be stacked up the ear. So this is a complete reversal.”
Fletcher also notes that in neckwear, dangling pendants are always popular, but ODI also sees greater interest in chevron and smile style necklaces. “In bands, it’s the same story, very diamond intensive and no metal showing or straight edges. Fancies mixed with rounds, or large and small rounds in garland looks, giving that lacy edge are trending. And, enhancers are still our No. 1 band category. Again, with the graduated or lacy looks doing well.”
In its latest trends report, the De Beers Group forecasts popular designs in 2021 will reinforce nature — motifs referencing flora, fauna and natural phenomena (rainbows, the elements), and in aesthetics that are organic and freeform in style. The report also describes a reframing of preciousness, as more designers are including “less orthodox materials” with diamonds and precious metals like wood, fossilized ivory, leather, and mother of pearl.
Jewelry that uplifts the spirit is undoubtedly in demand. While there has always been a soft spot for heart jewelry, Namie sees a huge surge for different heart designs in 2020, shares Theresa Namie, merchandising manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota. “We’ve developed a few new styles, reaching those that want to gift and be gifted with jewelry that says ‘I Love You’, like our Diamond Marriage Symbol. This is so important for many who are healing emotionally and physically from 2020.”
Namie also expects trends to continue for jewelry mixing the sparkle of diamonds with gemstones reflecting bright colors popular in 2020 and at fashion week for 2021, especially in floral designs, geometric patterns and link chain styles.
Roopam Jain, president of the branded division for Jewelmark in New York City, which brings to market several licensed brand collections, says that it has had tremendous success with its Hallmark Diamonds brand set in sterling silver and 10K rose gold, focused on family, faith and inspiration.
Jain also says the force is with its latest Star Wars Fine Jewelry brand with Lucas Films, launched for the holidays to great success. Subtle nods to iconic characters and emblems are crafted in 10K yellow and rose gold, sterling silver, diamonds, and gems like sapphire, morganite, garnet, jade, and tiger’s eye.
“We created this collection for everyone who has been inspired by the powerful storytelling of Star Wars,” says Jain. “Designs celebrates themes like friendship, loyalty, hope and balance that are infused in the storylines.” He says that even someone who is not a diehard fan would be inspired by designs like “Into the Galaxy” that represents the delicate balance between light and dark in black and white diamonds in tri-tiered band ring. Or, “Celestial Love”, a rose gold and diamond laurel wreath hoop earrings symbolizing hope.
Symbolic, sentimental and personalized jewelry continues to lead the trends, reports the Natural Diamond Council in its latest diamond jewelry report. Amulets, good luck charms, spiritual icons, and words of love and affirmation sprinkled in diamonds remain key keepsakes for people to connect, celebrate and express love. Popular motifs highlighted in the report include the heart, evil eye, religious symbols, zodiac signs, and celestial beings. Lockets, charms and signet rings are among the favorite styles conveying these messages.