This is a moment when people want meaning, substance and objects with lasting value & personal significance.
As consumers in the U.S. reassess their purchasing behavior in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, gifts that are meaningful and retain their value will be the priority as people emerge from lockdown, finds research released by the De Beers Group in June.
The research demonstrated that the lockdown had made many consumers feel grateful for things they used to take for granted, such as spending time with family, and that this would influence their future purchasing and gifting behavior.
When it came to gifting, and in particular looking forward to the holidays, 56 percent felt gifts should be meaningful, above being practical, functional or fun. Diamonds were seen as the top gift for symbolizing intimacy, connectedness and love among couples, with the primary desire for purchasing diamonds a reflection of gratitude and acknowledgement during the current crisis.
Ninety percent said that choosing gifts that hold their value over time would be an important consideration this holiday season, and more people chose diamonds as the top choice for a gift of this nature from a list of luxury items.
“While consumer confidence and spending has been significantly impacted in the U.S., this research highlights that diamonds will nonetheless have a unique role to play in people’s lives in a post-lockdown world as they seek to celebrate their most meaningful relationships,” Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group said in a statement. “While it will take some time for the market to recover fully, we hope these insights will assist jewelry retailers to understand the evolving consumer perspective, as we move through and emerge from the crisis.”
Symbolic & Personal
Symbolic, sentimental, and personalized diamond jewelry is coveted for its emotional value, and this is a moment when people want meaning, substance and objects with lasting value and personal significance, cites the Natural Diamond Council (NDC), formerly known as the Diamond Producers Association in its Jewelry Trends Report for Fall 2020.
A range of symbols is popular, including heart, evil eye, good luck charms, spiritual icons, celestial beings, zodiac signs, initials, and words of affirmation all accented in diamonds. Original Designs Inc. (ODI) cites among its bestsellers a diamond dusted crescent moon with dangling star pendant, engraved with “Shoot for the Moon, Reach for the Stars”, and unisex signet ring with diamond studded North Star design as favorite gifts for grads, tells Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development for the New York-based manufacturer.
Another key trend identified by NDC is mix-and-match diamond earrings. The report hails it an easy way to curate personal style, as women can wear classic diamond studs with a diamond drop or geometric-shaped earrings. The report finds jewelry designers are increasingly selling single earrings for this purpose, calling it an affordable way to create a style upgrade.
It also cites Gypsy set diamond ring styles as fresh and modern in band and signet rings. It’s a bold ring design that showcases the diamond in a more discreet style, as the stone is set flush with the gold band. Inspired by a style originally popular in the late 19th century, it’s a great alternative to the classic prong setting that has surged back into fashion.
Classics & Clever
Classic styles with clever tweaks popular in diamond bridal, including favorite halo ring styles that take the concept beyond the basic look, says Karen Crowe, marketing/merchandising for Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio. “Our 2020 Bridal addendum also features trendy new asymmetric and east-west styles designed using fancy shapes that offer a unique look for the modern bride.”
Personal expression continues to be an important factor in choosing bridal jewelry. As more women are involved in selecting their engagement ring, says Fletcher, we’re seeing requests to add custom filigree, or turn a pear center on an angle, or add the couple’s birthstones to the shank.
“Customers are looking for the three P’s…Pear Shapes, Platinum and Personal Expression,” says Fletcher. “While rounds and ovals were our best performers last season, now our special order department is overwhelmed with requests to change those centers to pear shapes. And, the majority of those orders are in platinum. With the rising price of gold, the retail price gap between 14K and platinum is decreasing, giving consumers more options in their price range.”
One of the biggest engagement ring trends in 2020, cites Weddingwire, is lab-grown diamonds, a huge part of the eco-friendly wedding trend, and a viable choice for brides. In fact, the lab-grown diamond category has grown for companies like Quality Gold and its True Origin brand and Frederick Goldman’s Love Earth, not only offering engagement rings, but also wedding bands and fine fashion jewelry styles.
When it comes to wedding bands, Fletcher says that inserts continue to be ODI’s bestselling category, with chevrons, contours and tiaras trending up. Stacking multiple bands with an engagement ring is still a popular trend. Skinny tiaras with a flat edge on one side are a great way to add a little flair to a straight stack.