Join JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates as they offer predictions for 2024. Victoria discusses the trends she thinks will be hot in the year ahead, and Rob delves into what G7 sanctions on Russian diamonds could mean for the industry. Then Victoria talks about gearing up for a trip to Colombia with jewelry-maker Pippa Small to explore clean gold sourcing and discusses which companies to keep an eye on in the world of luxury watches.
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02:55 Predictions: 5 trends to watch in 2024
10:15 Predictions: Diamond sanctions set the stage for big changes
14:22 Victoria’s upcoming trip to Colombia
20:33 News and notes from the watch world
22:41 Parting thoughts
Predictions: 5 trends to watch in 2024
Victoria rounds up some trends to watch, based on her recent story that included interviews with tastemakers from the jewelry world:
1) White metals
Expect white gold to be especially hot in 2024. The pendulum may simply be swinging back after years of yellow gold as the “in” look. Then again, the trend may signal a new mindset. Yellow gold evokes tradition, while white metals exude sleek, futuristic modernity. Their return might suggest that people are becoming more future-focused, Victoria theorizes.
2) Blue and green gems
Green is popular because of its associations with nature, and blue conveys serenity. The trend is good news for jewelers because both hues offer tremendous variety in terms of gemstones. Victoria notes that none of the experts she interviewed mentioned Pantone’s 2024 Color of the Year, Peach Fuzz.
3) Nostalgia for the ’80s and ’90s
Expect looks and motifs from both decades to resurface, particularly the ’90s minimalist aesthetic. This is likely an outgrowth of the “quiet luxury” movement, as well as a reaction from the design world to our tense and troubled geopolitical climate. “There is something to be said about not flashing your wealth when there’s so much suffering in the world,” Victoria notes.
Our sources forecast taupe, beige, brown, and other “earthy, grounded colors” to be big in 2024. This, too, may tie into troubling global events and the unknowns that come with a national election year. “There’s a lot of uncertainty and dread, quite frankly,” Victoria points out. “Maybe neutrals feel like a safe, calming bet.”
5) Diamonds in the spotlight
As always, diamonds will be top of mind, Victoria says, observing that JCK’s most-read articles in 2023 all dealt with diamonds.
Predictions: Diamond sanctions set the stage for big changes
Rob breaks down some of the biggest news that will affect the industry this year: the sanctions on Russian diamonds due to be instituted by the G7. He says that the day before he and Victoria recorded the podcast, the EU released a much stronger statement about the sanctions than expected.
Assuming they come to fruition, the sanctions will trigger a huge change in how the industry functions, Rob says, adding that the new restrictions may target a possible loophole for lab-grown diamonds. Guidelines call for the establishment of an international ledger backed up by blockchain that will log and trace every diamond over half a carat, to be overseen by the G7 or one of its member nations.
“People will be taken aback by all the things that are going to be required of them,” Rob warns. “There are a lot of questions and a lot of anxiety about this plan,” including concerns over the expense and time that would be involved in sending rough and polished diamonds to Antwerp to be logged in a ledger.
It’s not clear how the U.S. will interpret the plan and act on it. However, “if it works and it’s not too cumbersome or too expensive, I think it will be a net positive for the industry,” Rob says. “We’ve been talking for so long about traceability, and here would be industrywide traceability.”
Victoria’s upcoming trip to Colombia
Rob’s New Year’s resolution is to break of out his bubble by continuing to talk to people he disagrees with. He also wants to travel more.
Speaking of travel, Victoria is excited about her upcoming trip to Colombia with British jeweler Pippa Small, who is on a quest for cleaner gold mining. The two will visit a coastal community of female gold miners in the Chocó region who pan for gold using traditional alluvial methods.
Rob hopes Victoria will record videos of her trip, as it’s hard to convey what mining areas are really like without seeing them. Videos show how different daily life can be in other parts of the world, and they provide a testament to the role the jewelry industry plays in the lives of poor people, he says.
New and notes from the watch world
The conversation turns to watches. With Watches and Wonders Geneva 2024 set for April, Victoria is keeping an eye out for news from Rolex. Despite its longstanding reputation as an evolutionary brand, the company took some revolutionary steps in 2023. It began rolling out its own certified pre-owned program, released buzzworthy models like the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 emoji watch, and entered the retail arena by acquiring Bucherer. Who knows what 2024 will bring? “If 2023 is any indication, they’re pulling some really surprising moves,” Victoria says.
Another brand to watch is Breitling, which made headlines last year by purchasing iconic midcentury brand Universal Genève. “Among people who love vintage, Universal Genève has always been a unicorn brand, but it was dormant for many years,” Victoria says, noting that fabled designer Gérald Genta created several models for the company. “It’ll take a few years, but to have a storied brand like Universal Genève back in action is pretty cool, and it may hint at additional acquisitions to come.” Rob mentions that because Breitling is owned by a hedge fund, it may have cash to buy other brands.
Rob expects to finish the fourth book in his mystery series this year and perhaps retire from novel writing, though Victoria encourages him to keep writing fiction. The hosts thank The Jewelry District’s listeners for joining them in 2023 and wish all a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2024—with many more entertaining, educational podcasts to come.
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