At the end of every year, I like to spotlight my favorite articles from the past 12 months on jewelry and related topics that—shockingly—did not appear on JCKonline (though one was written by a JCK editor).
As I also feel compelled to do every year, I apologize for leaving many excellent articles and writers out of this roundup.
The stories below include inside looks at our trade as well as insightful glimpses from outsiders. Some will hopefully give you things to consider about the wider economy and business climate. There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and jewelry is, and will always be, part of it.
Now dig in.
The Search for the Perfect Stone
The New Yorker visits Tucson for the gem shows, gets caught up in the thrill of the chase.
The Wild Story of the Psychic, the Sheikh and the $90 Million Diamond Heist
Wild is right. Learn how a phony psychic led to a jewel getting pulled from a Christie’s auction.
$100 Million Gone in 27 Minutes
New York magazine explores the July 2022 robbery of a Brinks truck in California, considered the most expensive jewel heist in history.
Curbed covers a Diamond District pawnshop that is accused of being the epicenter of a retail theft ring.
What Freshwater Can Teach Us About Lab Grown
Michael Schechter calls on his time in the pearl business for some historical perspective.
Pre-Rolled Joints and TikTok Feuds: This Is the Diamond District?
Yes, the Diamond District is changing, says The New York Times, but there’s life in the neighborhood yet.
Uncut Gems: Are They Worth the Gamble?
Accompanying rough traders to an auction, a Financial Times reporter tries to learn the rules of the game and ends up mesmerized.
Blood Diamonds and the Lottery of Earth
Why diamonds spark wars in some countries—and prosperity in others.
Still in the Loupe
A Jewish publication profiles Orthodox dealers in Antwerp’s diamond district.
In the Loupe: How an Industry Tool Became a Collecting Obsession
Loupe collecting is a thing, according to the Financial Times.
The Dystopian Underworld of South Africa’s Illegal Gold Mines
The New Yorker looks at the criminal economy that sprung up after the country’s mining industry collapsed.
The Complete History & Strategy of LVMH
A fascinating deep dive into everyone’s favorite luxury conglomerate. You can listen to this episode of the Acquired podcast or read the transcript at the same link.
Retailers Bet Wrong on America’s Feelings About Stores
In spite of the pandemic, consumers still enjoy in-person shopping.
AI-Generated Junk Is Flooding Etsy
Apparently, Etsy is getting bad too.
All Hail King
How Rolex became a brand like no other.
It’s a ‘Superhero Case’ for the Wrist
Pinpointing the difference between a watch nerd and a watch snob.
The Wild, (Mostly) Complete Story of John Lennon’s Lost Patek Philippe 2499
Hodinkee’s investigation of the once-missing watch includes extortion, theft, auctions, and Yoko Ono.
Cartier Lego: Is It Real? Where to Buy It?
No, it isn’t real. Which is kind of a shame.
Tyler, the Creator and Pharrell Break Down Their Favorite Chains of All Time
The two rappers discuss their “legendary” jewelry collections.
How Making Jewelry Got Me Out of My Creative Rut
“I never could have imagined being in this position,” writes a contributor to NPR, “watching my creations be bought and worn with pride.”
The Age of Average
Why stores, interiors, media, and even people all look the same.
The Rot Economy
How Wall Street’s current mania for “growth” is hurting us all.
Netflix ‘Steals’ From Luxury Brands in Clever Ad Campaign
This is indeed clever advertising.
(Cell phone photo at top, pearls and loupe photos, illustration: Getty Images)