A Girl’s Best Friend: Growth Opportunities in Diamond Fashion

Growth Opportunities in Diamond Fashion

Growth opportunities abound in diamond fashion jewelry. Market research by De Beers reveals a rise in the self-purchase of diamond jewelry, representing 33 percent of total U.S. diamond jewelry purchased in 2017.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group said in a statement that new designs and brand concepts are playing a key role in driving demand in this leading product category for 2019. “As women in the U.S. continue to make gains in the labor force, the self-purchase trend offers the clearest opportunities for future growth.”

Having a selection of diamond jewelry that appeals to the woman looking to celebrate a personal milestone, or to buy something special to reward herself, should become as much a focus for jewelers as bridal and other relationship milestone-related jewelry, advocated Cleaver.

Many companies are seizing this opportunity to empower self-purchasing women, like Original Designs’ new campaign launched this quarter “I am a Woman” that compares the qualities of a woman to that of a diamond—beauty, strength, brilliance. Clever taglines help make the connection: “Beautiful in all shapes, sizes and colors”, “You can’t break me”, and “I thrive under pressure”.

The campaign celebrates our differences, and the journeys we go through that, like a diamond, make us unique, describes Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development for the New York City based manufacturer.

Fine jewelry brands are evolving faster and creating new diamond fashion collections to appeal to a younger consumer, cites Paola De Luca, founder and creative director for the Italian luxury marketing firm, The Futurist, publisher of TrendVision. “They also are more attuned to addressing trends such as the stacking of rings or dressing the ears with cuffs and creepers in 14K gold and diamonds at more accessible prices.”

Diamond jewelry has been the most popular type of jewelry in the US market with more than 45 percent share in 2018, exceeding the second most popular category, gold jewelry at nearly 35 percent, finds TrendVision.

De Beers research shows an increase in the proportion of people buying diamonds simply because they love a design. And, what designs are resonating in diamond fashion jewelry?

Allison Peck for the NYC-based jewelry manufacturer Color Merchants expects we’re going to continue seeing a lot more Art Deco/vintage-inspired pieces, along with interesting and unusual jewelry that makes people feel special/important and standout. She also cites the company’s flex-eternity diamond bands (Spryngs) and spiral rings, as well as its Dashing Diamonds dangling from gold hoop earrings or bead chain necklace as updated classics. And, she adds that designs mixing fancy shaped diamonds are popular, especially in earrings and rings.

Lab Grown Fashion

Expect to see lab-grown diamonds continue to grow in the diamond fashion jewelry category.
De Beers is jumping into the affordable fashion fine jewelry category, launching its own lab-grown diamond jewelry brand, marketed under the name Lightbox. “Our research tells us that consumers regard lab-grown diamonds, as a fun, pretty product that shouldn’t cost that much,” stated Cleaver.

According to JCK’s State of the Industry 2018 report, lab-grown diamonds are noticeably up among the one in five businesses that sell them. It’s also anticipated to grow as a category this year and is cited in the Top 3 list of popular trends for the year by 36 percent of jewelers polled. In fact, 62 percent of those selling lab-grown diamonds report a sales-increase from 2017 to 2018, and 78 percent expect that number to grow in 2019.

Cora Lee Colaizzi, Director of Marketing and Catalogs and Senior Merchandiser for Quality Gold, Fairfield Ohio, cites lab-grown diamonds among the most asked about products this year, with consumers drawn to the choice and price points they offer.

De Beers finds that consumers continue to search for ethical products with known provenance, as Millennials care a lot about a brand’s social responsibility. In this context, De Luca notes that lab-grown diamonds are appealing to more environmentally conscious Millennials. “Lab-grown diamonds may be a niche product in the jewelry industry, but more manufacturers and retailers are not only asking about lab-grown diamonds, they’re buying into the category.”