The 40 Best Jewelry-Related Quotes of 2020

This has been quite a year, with plenty to talk about. And so, as we did last year, JCK has collected 40 of the best, most interesting, most insightful, most revealing—and funniest—jewelry-related quotes of 2020.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were made to JCK or garnered by JCK from primary sources.

COVID-19

“Take [COVID] seriously. Put people before business. Business will come back. People don’t come back.”
—Designer Roberto Coin, when Italy first struggled to contain the virus in March

“If you’re one of these anti-masking people, why are you possibly trying to disrupt small businesses who every single one of us have had just the absolute worst year? This is my place here and I get to make the rules.… If you’re pro-business, you’re pro-mask.”
—Mike Rogers, owner, Precious Metal Arts, Boise, Idaho, speaking about protesters who disrupted his store to his local TV station

“It’s a nice time to reflect, meditate, and connect with nature. It gives space to think about how Mother Nature will always find her balance, even if it is through disaster or pandemic. We have to listen to her. We have no control over nature. We need to take care of our own health—it’s the only thing we can control right now. What’s the hardest thing about it? What I wouldn’t do for a pedicure.”
—Actress, model, and jewelry designer Rebecca Romijn

COVID-19 AND JEWELRY

“In the midst of everything that is going on around us, it seems almost frivolous to be posting [on Instagram] about diamonds and to be so enthusiastic about jewelry. But certainly the feedback from my followers has been: It’s a welcome distraction, whatever you do, don’t stop. Sometimes in the darkest times, you need a little distraction and a little bit of entertainment to keep going.”
—Tracey Ellison, aka @TheDiamondsGirl on Instagram, on a JCK Virtual webinar

“Wholesale is down—we haven’t done any trunk shows—but our retail store has doubled sales from last year. It’s crazy. We don’t know how to explain it.”
—Jewelry designer Mark Patterson to the New York Times

“It’s almost like [certain jewelry items] are the COVID merit badges. These are the things to say that we survived 2020 in its entirety, and we’re stronger and we’re going to look back at this someday. We’re never going to look back and laugh, but we are going to look back and remember.”
—John Carter, president of Jack Lewis Jewelers in Bloomington, Ill., on a JCK Virtual webinar

“Some of my favorite people in the industry had not been on social media personally before. And now many more are!”
—Writer Peggy Jo Donahue

COVID-19 AND RETAIL

“Whatever rules were in place before no longer apply. People coming back to work right now need to understand that they’re not just coming back to the same job. They’re signing on for a whole new job. And it’s not OK to not know how to email or text a customer.… This is not about our new normal. We have to be responsive to the consumer’s new normal.”
—Kate Peterson, on JCK’s The Jewelry District podcast

kate peterson
Kate Peterson, president and CEO of Performance Concepts (photo courtesy of Kate Peterson)

“It’s like with the old videocassettes, you would press fast-forward, and you didn’t know where it would stop. But you just knew it would be far ahead of where you were. When the world gets out of this [pandemic], we will be in a different place.”
—David Prager, De Beers’ executive vice president and chief brand officer, on the new world

“I have never worked in a cleaner environment than what I am working in now! And I like it!”
—John Brockhaus, owner, Brockhaus Jewelry, Norman, Okla.

“If 15% of Americans don’t have enough food to eat, how can they even be thinking about holiday gift giving?”
—Pam Danziger, Unity Marketing

DIAMONDS

“Guess what happens when you try to choose a diamond [online]? You’re presented with what amounts to an Excel spreadsheet showing all the diamonds available. You would have to be an expert to pick a stone wisely. You need years and years of education. Try pulling up all the online retailers—I’m telling you, if you delete the scribbly logo in the corner, you can’t tell the difference.”
—Gemist founder Madeline Fraser

“In [the] absence of willing midstream lenders, [diamond miners] may have no choice [than to provide] credit. This will make the pipeline a much healthier place for everyone. If the producer extends credit, it must double-check or even triple-check the financial strength of its clients.… That’s almost like going back to the ‘old days,’ where one knew that sightholders were solid and dependable, trustworthy companies.”
—Chaim Even-Zohar in Idex

Chaim Even-Zohar
Chaim Even-Zohar (photo courtesy of Chaim Even-Zohar)

“My generation and the generation before me, whenever they talk about the diamond industry, they always like to talk about the good old days and when we made money. It’s all historical perspective. It’s a bit boring and tiresome to keep regurgitating.”
—Rami Baron, founder of Young Diamantaires  

young diamantaires
The Young Diamantaires group (photo courtesy of Young Diamantaires)

“As [Argyle diamond mine’s last production] continues its journey down through the crusher, up the conveyors, out into daylight and up through process, it carries with it many years of hard work, determination, and a great deal of satisfaction.”
—An Argyle mine employee on Facebook

“You ask most people that have a diamond and they’ll have a story that comes with it, whether it’s about a relationship with another person or personal achievement or a family member. That is unique. You don’t get that with any other product. Nobody looks at a handbag that way.”
—Natural Diamond Council CEO David Kellie

David Kellie,
David Kellie, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council (photo courtesy of the Natural Diamond Council)
DISPUTES

“Tiffany was aware of [LVMH chairman Bernard] Arnault’s reputation and his ruthless approach to acquisitions. [H]is ‘playbook’ has been described as ‘ousting founders, dividing families, or driving a wedge between business partners.’ ”
—Tiffany & Co.’s lawyers’ comments about the company’s eventual acquirer 

It is unclear to us why LVMH and its legal team would pursue the course of action [with Tiffany] to secure a minimal discount to the terms originally agreed.”
—Analyst Flavio Cereda at brokerage Jefferies, as quoted in Reuters 

“Disclosure of the identities of the [Dominion Diamond Mines’ employees receiving bonuses] could create negative morale among…other employees.”
—Dominion CEO Patrick Merrin, owner of the Ekati mine, in a bankruptcy filing

“[Laid-off Ekati employees are] wondering how they’re going to make payments, how they’re going to put food on the table, how they’re going to pay bills. It really affects the bottom line for our families.”
—Yellowknives Dene Ndilo Chief Ernest Betsina, discussing Ekati’s temporary closure with CBC

“With double-digit unemployment, it’s a strange time [for bankrupt retailers] to be paying out retention bonuses.”
—Adam Levitin, a professor specializing in bankruptcy at Georgetown University’s law school, speaking to Reuters about bankrupt companies like J.C. Penney giving execs pre–Chapter 11 payouts

DIVERSITY

“I believe the jewelry industry can play a leadership role in helping move toward more inclusive, fairer, more equitable solutions to the challenges that the world faces. So it’s all about looking in the mirror, and companies and businesses looking at what we can do to not only prevent tragedies like these racial tragedies, but what can we do to help bring about a more just world, a more fair world, and a more equitable world.”
—Diamonds Do Good cofounder and veteran civil rights activist Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr.

Dr Benjamin Chavis
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, director and cofounder of Diamonds Do Good (photo courtesy of Diamonds Do Good)

“We need new talent to keep the industry going. I can’t relate to someone who is a fourth-generation gem dealer. They can’t relate to me. We still have a long way to go. Little by little, we can get there.”
—Designer Angely Martinez, who helped compose a letter calling for a BIPOC jewelers group, in a Jewelers of America seminar

Cecil Rhodes was one of our founders in 1888. We reject what he stood for, and while we can’t rewrite that history, we can bear the responsibility of history to build a better legacy.”
A De Beers statement supporting calls to remove Rhodes’ statue at Oxford University, quoted by National Jeweler

“[Karolina Cohn left us with] this pendant, which is a beautiful object because it’s so unique. It’s not glamorous, it’s not studded with diamonds or anything. But because of its story, it’s beautiful.”
—Mandy Eisemann, talking about a replica of a piece owned by her cousin who was killed in the Holocaust

karolina cohn pendant front
Karolina Cohn’s pendant (image courtesy of A. Jaffe)
GEMSTONES

“I am always sorry when I see a report being used as the only tool when selling a gem. Gems are not repeatable widgets; they are all unique and special. Sales should be tied to the uniqueness and beauty of a gemstone rather than to a piece of paper and a picture that rarely represents it correctly. We’re talking about love here! If you love a gem, you will be able to sell it.”
—Robert Weldon, GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center director, to Asia Lounges

JEWELRY

“Each piece represents something important to me, a good memory, or a gift from somebody, or it reminds me of my mother or my aunt, or picking the bangle up in a destination that’s memorable or hunting it down in a flea market. When I’m stacking bangles I’m stacking stories and memories. The bangles have a life of their own. They have soul.”
—Editor and stylist Kate Moodie, to the New York Times

“When you buy jewelry for yourself, it’s to reflect who you are. And women are asking for more powerful things.”
—Melanie Grant, author of Coveted, to the New York Times

“An eminent cultural historian once told me that jewelry was basically all about sex. ‘What?’ I spluttered. ‘Don’t be ridiculous; jewelry is about heritage and craftsmanship and the convergence of great design and the finest materials. It certainly isn’t about copulation.’ ‘OK, well you just mull it over,’ he said, and walked away smirking.”
—Jessica Diamond in the Times

“My friends don’t self-gift—they just complain about what their husbands buy for them.”
—Baker and female jewelry self-purchaser Louise Moody to DailyMail.com

RETAIL

“I hear too many conversations in the jewelry industry that people aren’t having enough fun. And that’s on us. It’s not anybody else’s job to make it fun for us. It’s our job to make it fun for us.”
—Industry consultant Andrea Hill on JCK’s The Jewelry District podcast

Andrea Hill
Hill Management Group CEO Andrea Hill (photo courtesy of Andrea Hill)

“Jewelers are similar to surgeons and priests in that we deal with everybody—the good and the bad, they all come to us sooner or later.”
—Kedem Deletis, owner of 47th Diamond District Corp., to New York magazine

“One of my favorite things to do when I’ve talked to groups, [I ask] what they think the e-commerce numbers are that make up the total amount of annual sales. If you say 50%, you get some hands. You say 40%, you get more. You say 30%, even more, and 25% is just about everybody. I think everybody is really shocked when they learn that in fact e-commerce accounts for only 12% of annual retail sales.”
—Bill Thorne, senior vice president of communications and public affairs for the National Retail Federation, during a JCK Virtual 2020 keynote

“In the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s, people kept building these monster [mall] properties. The market could support one or maybe one-point-something, but they built three. The United States has overbuilt retail by multiple levels compared to any other country in the world.”
—Kenneth Lamy, CEO of financial management firm Lamy Group, to Retail Dive

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

“Due diligence is a responsibility of conduct, not a responsibility of outcome. You are not providing guarantees. You are making good-faith efforts to implement these standards with a view toward progressive improvement.”
—Tyler Gillard, head of sector projects and legal adviser for the OECD’s Responsible Business Conduct unit, on gold sourcing

“We do have a ‘next normal’ of consumer social [awareness]. This isn’t about sustainability at our companies. This is about sustainability of our companies.”
—Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer for Richline Group, at a JCK Virtual webinar

Mark Hanna
Mark Hanna, CMO of Richline Group (photo courtesy of Richline Group)

“People innately want to do good. They want to be part of something. By the industry leading the charge, we have the opportunity to create jewelry loyalists like never before.”
—Jewelry industry PR veteran Rebecca Moskal

WATCHES

“For a long time now, the Swiss watch industry has been pretty sluggish, when the rest of luxury had been growing a lot. We had some time during the COVID lockdown to talk with many people. We realized that at 80% of the time, the main reason was the lack of connection of resonance with millennials, from the products to the communication.”
—Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin to Luxury Society

“Luxury is like dancing. If you get too close, you step on each other’s feet.”
—Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias to WatchPro

Audemars Piguet Altanta
An Audemars Piguet store in Atlanta (photo courtesy of Audemars Piguet)

“Mechanical watches are eternal, whereas the Apple Watch—I got one for my birthday 10 days ago, my fourth—will become obsolete. A Royal Oak or Submariner still works and has value. Obsolescence cannot compete with eternity. Who competes with eternity? God, maybe.”
—Jean-Claude Biver, former head of LVMH’s watch division, to the New York Times

Top: Actress Rebecca Romijn (photo courtesy of Charlie Dolly)

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JCK News Director