The Jewelry District, Episode 31: Blue Nile x Lightbox, the Argyle Mine, and NYC Jewelry Week

In This Episode
In this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk about the recent announcement that Lightbox will be selling on Blue Nile. They’ll also be discussing the closure of the Argyle mine, and New York City’s upcoming Jewelry Week.

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Show Notes
00:00 Rob and Victoria discuss Lightbox and Blue Nile teaming up.
04:55 Are lab-grown diamonds just for fashion, or are they fit for bridal wear, too?
07:50 The Argyle mine is closing: What that means for the industry.
10:00 Colored diamonds were a staple of the Argyle mine. Victoria and Rob talk color variety and nomenclature.
16:32 Victoria discusses all the fun to come at the upcoming NYC Jewelry Week.

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Editor: Olivia Briley
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet

Show Recap

Blue Nile x Lightbox
Lightbox made a big announcement right at the end of October: It will be selling its product on Blue Nile. When Rob spoke to the CEO of Blue Nile earlier in the year, it seemed like the company was leaning toward partnering with the fashion brand, and now it’s official. This partnership is Blue Nile’s first lab-grown diamond brand. Rob argues that Lightbox, despite all the criticism, is offering a genuine attempt to differentiate itself in the market of lab-grown diamonds.

Are Lab-Grown Diamonds for Bridal or Fashion?
Even though Lightbox debuted in 2018, Victoria argues that the market for lab-grown diamonds still has such mixed messaging on whether the diamonds are up to par with their non-lab-grown counterparts. She recently went to see Mark Patterson, a luxury jeweler, and he told her that his retail business this year is through the roof, and that he had his first bridal lab-grown diamond sales. Despite people starting to buy lab-grown diamonds for bridal wear, Blue Nile and Lightbox are still advertising them as just fashion pieces.

The Closing of the Argyle Mine
On Nov. 3, the Argyle mine in Western Australia closed after 37 years in the business. Victoria asks Rob what he thinks of the closure and what it means for the industry. Rob says that the industry originally viewed what came out of the Argyle mine as inferior, but the mine managed to create a market for middle-class Americans wanting to buy diamonds at a lower price, thereby “democratizing” the market.

Colored Diamonds
The Argyle mine produced 90% of the world’s pink diamonds, and it also produced champagne and chocolate diamonds. Victoria talks about how the gems get their color. She also mentions the 2.83 ct. violet diamond that graced the cover of the July/August 2-17 issue of JCK. Rob and Victoria discuss the interesting nomenclature of diamonds out of the Argyle mine and how Argyle worked to differentiate itself.

The Third Annual NYC Jewelry Week
The third annual NYC Jewelry Week is happening from Nov. 16 through Nov. 22, and for the first time ever you don’t have to be in New York to attend: This year’s jewelry week is all virtual, with 127 events happening online throughout the week. Victoria talks about “Here We Are,” a category intended to shed light on underrepresented communities in the jewelry industry, specifically people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ members. Victoria also spoke with De Beers’ Sally Morrison, who will be appearing on a sustainability-themed panel discussion, talking about the resilience of the jewelry industry this year.

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