For some, the most dreaded acronym is the jewelry world might be this one: NFT. Just seeing those three little letters together brings up feelings of dread, confusion, and, in some cases, worry that a jeweler or designer might be missing out.
Avoiding NFT FOMO may be easier than the industry might expect if you look at three recent examples of how jewelry brands are approaching non-fungible tokens. Each one is specific to the brand’s overall goals, but all have one thing in common: The jeweler or designer in question wanted to stay ahead of a trend that’s quickly becoming a long-term play.
In the case of artist and newly minted jewelry designer Angie Crabtree, the NFT is an experiment to see whether offering this object in addition to her art and a pretty amazing diamond might help her make a sizable donation to a cause close to her heart.
For the Clear Cut, its NFT seeks to use this tool for utility and a touch of sentimentality—the goal is to “launch the next generation of blockchain security for your diamond jewelry,” the company says.
For Tiffany & Co., the luxury jeweler likely wanted to make a big splash into the NFT world with its NFTiffs, and it certainly achieved that goal. Its limited supply sold out in less than 30 minutes after its launch and brought in more than $12 million for the specialty retailer.
Whether jewelry buyers will see NFTs as practical or a trendy add-on remains to be seen.
“I think many other NFT offerings starting to happen in the jewelry industry are fun and exciting, but may not be as practical or stand the test of time,” says Olivia Landau, founder and CEO of the Clear Cut. “Our NFT offers the only practical-use case in the luxury jewelry market today.”
For the first time, artist Angie Crabtree is selling what some might call the triple play of the diamond world. She has put together a set of three items for purchase through Aug. 31: a rare, 10.1 carat pear-shape diamond, a three-foot-tall painted portrait of said diamond, and an NFT of that diamond.
If this set of three sells for $1 million, Crabtree will donate $22,222 of the proceeds to Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Crabtree says she selected this organization in part because she wants to support organizations that contribute to children’s health care for two reasons. First, at age 12 she received a juvenile diabetes diagnosis, so she knows how important health care is. Second, as a former high school art teacher, she wants to take care of kids and their health.
Crabtree says she is experimenting with NFTs within her art, creating some for her latest art show and as part of her new jewelry line.
“In the future, I want to pair more NFTs with gems,” Crabtree says. “I like the idea of selling things in sets of three. It’s a big investment, so it would be cool to have all three items to exhibit.”
The Clear Cut
Working with partner Authentic, the Clear Cut in June launched its diamond ring NFT, which gives its customers a digital record of their diamond’s GIA report, insurance documents, sentimental photos, and videos associated with making their ring—all encrypted for privacy and security, Landau says.
This NFT serves its purpose of preserving documents, but it also preserves stories, says Landau, who also is a GIA-certified gemologist. Having your proposal story on the blockchain ensures that tale can be passed down through generations.
The Clear Cut’s process makes the NFT purchase easy for its customers. Clients receive an option to add an NFT when they buy their ring for $500 or later at the same price, Landau says. Existing engagement ring clients also will have this option. In its beta testing phase, more than 90% of Clear Cut’s clients said they were interested in this new NFT function, she says.
Tiffany & Co.
In July, Tiffany & Co. announced on Twitter, “The future is here and it’s called NFTiff.” Working with CryptoPunk, Tiffany said its collectible passes could be redeemed for a custom pendant and an NFT digital artwork that resembled the final jewelry design. The collection of 250 digital passes known as NFTiffs went on presale Aug. 3 and sold out at a cost of 30 ETH. All sales were final.
The accompanying Tiffany pendant was custom to the NFT buyer, the company said. It could be made out of 18k rose or yellow gold and would feature at least 30 gemstones. A rendering of the custom pendant would be available by October; the physical jewelry won’t be ready to mail out until 2023, the company said.
Industry analysts and NFT experts were mixed on their reactions to Tiffany’s offering, especially in light of the how NFT prices and consumers’ acceptance of these kinds of technologies are all over the board. The large investment also calls into question whether this kind of exclusivity should be encouraged or is good for the overall industry.
Ultimately, some personal-finance experts are saying people generally should consider the NFT as a flex, as the kids say—it’s a way to up your social media status if you mention it in your profile. It’s an alternative investment if you want to be like Elon Musk. It also can be a way to get on top of a pop-culture phenomenon. Whatever way, it is interesting and, with brands such as Gucci, Sotheby’s, and Tiffany getting involved, it is likely here to stay.
Top: For Clear Cut’s founder and CEO Olivia Landau, NFTs are a way to add value and utility to a jewelry purchase. The company is offering NFTs with its engagement rings as a way for its customers to store GIA information as well as stories about how the proposal happened (photo courtesy of the Clear Cut).
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