In this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk about gender in the watch industry, secondhand jewelry and watches, and a new sustainability certification for diamonds.
00:30 Victoria and Rob take a second to review this busy month.
02:15 Victoria notices the watch industry’s disapproving reaction to the category of women’s watches.
09:00 Gendered products are outdated. Rob and Victoria explore how marketing such products has failed.
12:13 Secondhand jewelry and watch sites are plentiful. Rob talks about authentication and sustainability.
14:35 Rob recently wrote about the language surrounding lab-grown diamonds, and discusses the new criteria a producer must meet to be considered eco-friendly.
A Busy March
It’s mid-March! That means it’s daylight saving time. We’ve set our clocks forward in preparation for more hours of sunshine. But that’s not the only marker of time. This time last year, the first COVID-19 lockdowns were just starting across America. We’ve come a long way since then. Another March event? Women’s History Month. And that takes Victoria’s mind to watches.
Women Aren’t Monolithic
Victoria wrote an article for The New York Times for International Women’s Day both this year and last. When she wrote last year’s article, she spoke to Kathleen McGivney, CEO of RedBar Group, who told her there are so many categories for men’s watches, but when it comes to women’s watches, there is just one category. She made the point that women are not monolithic, and the industry has been missing that fact. This year, Hodinkee published a piece making the argument that all watches should be unisex.
The Failure of Watch Advertisements
Rob says when you go online, watches are advertised as these macho, masculine pieces. Victoria agrees: In advertising aimed toward women, models are scantily dressed and posing in their watches. In advertising aimed toward men, men are skiing, climbing mountains, and using their watches as tools, not just as accessories. Advertising for women just shows how they can be sexier, which doesn’t necessarily reflect what women actually want. The industry’s marketing toward women is outdated. In other watch-related news, Rob reports that Hodinkee bought Crown & Caliber, the secondhand watch site. He’s interested in Hodinkee’s move from a watch site into the e-commerce realm.
Rob wonders about secondhand watch sites: Are there too many of them? Can the market handle them all? Victoria counters by asking when the jewelry industry will follow suit. Rob points out that the real problem with secondhand jewelry sites is getting the pieces authenticated. eBay is one place trying to grow its certification processes. Rob says people’s desire for secondhand jewelry and watches comes from their interest in sustainability.
On the topic of sustainability and eco-friendliness, Victoria mentions an article Rob recently wrote about lab-grown diamonds and sustainability. Rob explains his article. About two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission started cracking down on language in the lab-grown diamond sphere. The Lab Grown Diamond Council enlisted SCS Global Services to find out what it would actually take to be sustainable. Rob says we still don’t know how much electricity it takes to make lab-grown diamonds. When this is done, certain brands can be set apart from the rest as truly sustainable.
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