Paradigm Shifts

Even casual observers note that the jewelry industry is undergoing fundamental and global changes that already have undone long-standing structures. The current changes promise (or threaten, in the view of some) to bring more upheavals. Jewelry is coming to grips with reality. Jewelry manufacturing, driven by the demands of the public, has tapped out the established routes to maintaining perceived value and important price points. Years ago, it was not uncommon to see mass-market pieces composed of healthy shanks and diamonds of some size. I recall the age of the “waterfall” ring and the seven-stone cluster, where melees were consumed in large—no, huge—numbers. Today, the mass market sees these sizes used in a few products—most notably the tennis bracelet and wedding bands—but fashion jewelry has been reduced to using stars in relatively flimsy mountings. Now we confront

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