How Do You Promote Diamond Jewelry During A Pandemic?

Last month, a panel of style and diamond jewelry experts converged on Zoom to discuss celebrity style, design trends, and the psychology behind current shopping behaviors.

Organized by De Beers and hosted by Couture, the online discussion featured wisdom from the former’s most recent “Diamond Insight Flash Report,” written in collaboration with the London-based fashion consultancy Adorn Insight. Adorn Insight founders Maia Adams, head of global research, and Juliet Hutton-Squire, head of global strategy, joined the talk, as did Eric Ford, precious jewelry buyer at Neiman Marcus, and Tara Swennen, a celebrity stylist with the Wall Group. Journalist and author Teri Agins moderated the discussion. Below are the takeaways we found most compelling.

On Holiday Purchasing Plans

“Men and women are more likely to receive and purchase diamond jewelry in the next six months,” said Hutton-Squire. “Two-thirds of Americans feel more inclined to give a significant gift to someone they love now, compared to how they felt pre-pandemic. If they’re in a relationship, that increases to 70%.”

Marla Aaron all stone chubby babylock
All Stone Chubby Babylock in 14k gold with diamonds, $6,500; Marla Aaron

“Fewer, Better Things”

“The phenomenon is around ‘buy less, buy better,’ ” said Adams. “Showy excess feels a little out of keeping with the times, but people still want to mark special moments. They’re investing in items that stand the test of time. We’re also seeing a more bohemian way of styling fine jewelry: diamonds worn in an everyday context. It’s more accessible and fun, especially for the younger consumer.”

Go Big

“Most people are looking at you from the waist up,” Ford said. “We’ve had very classic button earrings that we’ve sold, that work with masks. But we haven’t shied away from people who want to buy an amazing pair of earrings. Remember: Although we’re living in this pandemic, a lot of consumers who are buying high jewelry, their world is still different. They’re still attending functions, they still want to walk in and make sure you see their jewelry from across the room. People are in love with their earrings and their big bracelets. They want you to be able to see what they just bought. It has to be something that shows up, not tiny little things.”

ARK Bliss diamond stud earrings
Bliss stud diamond earrings in 18k yellow gold, $2,750; Ark Fine Jewelry

Clienteling to the Max

“There’s a different customer shopping in the store,” Ford said. “The core customer, you have to reach out to her and make her want to spend. Now we’re having to pivot. We end up going to the customer’s home, a private viewing in the back. We may have a Zoom call with the vendor where they talk about the piece. This is an opportunity for us to get to know our customers even better.”

Celebrity Style

“Swinging pendant earrings, chandeliers, necklaces, collars, and stackable favorites are being worn everywhere from award shows to Zoom calls to supermarket runs,” said Swennen. “As celebrities and influencers start doing more live performances, from podcasts to press conferences, I think what you’ll see is a lot of everyday jewelry. What I and a lot of stylists talk about is layering necklaces and stacked bracelets worn on their own or layered; chain links, which add cool factor; and personalized and monogrammed pieces. A lot of diamond hoops, textural and sculptural pieces, and mixing and matching metals.”

Storytelling Strategies

“Brands are looking to ignite diamond desire in Generation Z and millennials,” Adams said. “Are traditional messages around romance and rarity still resonating? Or is the appeal around responsibility and sustainability?”

“Attainability and sustainable luxury are the main focal points,” Swennen said. “The definition of opulence has shifted, and a new era of consciousness is coming in. Storytelling has profound influence on the selling dynamic. Consumers are now making purchases on their beliefs. And they’re turning to jewelry to help promote causes they believe in: love and spirituality, vote, resist, Black Lives Matter, Kamala’s pearl necklace. People are looking for meaning in each piece as well.”

Diamonds During A Pandemic

“You don’t want to be tone-deaf, but people are yearning for a shift,” Swennen said. “When you look at jewelry, it can be seen as a talisman, a protector of sorts. It makes you feel like a boss, stable and protected throughout these times of uncertainty. My clients are using their clothing to remain casual, but jewelry is what adds the look and the light—it’s how we’re bringing laughter and joy back to everyone’s outfits. Diamonds with T-shirts.”

Top: Shakti necklace in 18k gold with diamonds, $6,400; Ark Fine Jewelry

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JCK Editor-in-Chief

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