What. A. Year.
We began working on this issue in January, six months and a lifetime ago. Many jewelers had just come off an extremely successful 2019 and brimmed with optimism for the year ahead.
Then came the new coronavirus. I’ve watched the catastrophe unfold from my home in Los Angeles. As of this writing, I haven’t been directly affected by COVID-19, but I’ve grieved for the families who have lost loved ones, and agonized over the millions of Americans worried about putting food on the table.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also concerned about the fate of our industry. While I have no doubt that people’s desire for jewelry will endure this (and every) crisis, businesses can be surprisingly fragile. There’s so much talk in the public sphere about our local restaurants and bars—will they survive? But what about our local jewelers?
We’re doing our best to help retailers around the country remain hubs of connection in their cities and towns. And to remind you that the power of storytelling—to soothe, inform, and inspire—will help us all survive the pandemic and whatever comes next.
This issue includes three features that take stock of current events: News director Rob Bates’ “How Will Retail Bounce Back?” offers a hopeful glimpse of what a post–COVID-19 recovery might look like; senior editor Emili Vesilind’s “Service Industry” shines a light on the jewelry trade’s grace under pressure; and contributor Whitney Sielaff’s “Decision 2020” considers how this year’s presidential race will affect key industry issues.
Fashion, the other theme of this issue (see Venessa Lau’s “It’s a Fall World”), may seem frivolous at a time like this. But if you’re anything like me, glimmers of what the world used to feel like give me hope we’ll return there soon—kinder, wiser, and more committed to a future in which respect for the earth and her awesome power becomes second nature.
Top: Nuevo Mundo brooch with tourmaline, opals, diamonds, tsavorite, garnets, sapphires, and rubies; price on request; Lydia Courteille; 212-219-3793; lydiacourteille.com
(Gomelsky photograph by Nicholas A. Prakas; hair and makeup: Claudia Andreatta/Halley Resources)