Angela Romeo is a showroom assistant at jewelry consultancy Mega Mega Projects, a TikTok influencer with a million likes, and a bona fide Gen Z consumer. She gives us the lowdown on what her generation really thinks about natural diamonds.
What are your personal thoughts on natural diamonds?
To me, natural diamonds have always been this unattainable, faraway thing that I have hoped to own more of when I’m older and have more money. It’s like the end goal of life to own a diamond ring or necklace. But, at the same time, it doesn’t matter to me too much if that never ends up happening.
And your peers?
Owning diamonds isn’t as much of a “flex” as it used to be. I know that the natural-diamond industry has gotten a bad rap lately, especially with sustainability and ethics being one of the main drivers of consumption for my generation. I don’t think Gen Z understands and appreciates the value and beauty of a natural diamond anymore, which is why you’re seeing lab-grown diamonds become the new craze.
They claim to be a more affordable and ethical option that are physically and chemically identical to natural diamonds. I think a lot of my peers, and even people younger than me, just find natural diamonds too expensive. My friends would appreciate diamonds as gifts, but would be more likely to spend their money on something more brand-recognizable.
Are diamond engagement rings still valid?
The diamond engagement ring will never go away. We may prefer something more affordable with more unique shapes and colors — hello, Megan Fox’s [emerald and diamond] ring — but the meaningful sentiment of a diamond will, I think, always be symbolic. If there’s one thing Gen Z loves, it’s nostalgia.
Do you consider jewelry an investment?
It is not as much of an investment as it was to my parents because my generation doesn’t value the quality as much as theirs did. My generation isn’t making that much money with the harsh state of the economy right now, so we’re always looking for a cheaper option, whether it’s lab-grown diamonds or hoop earrings from Amazon. I think Gen Z wants jewelry that is affordable, sustainable, and will last them a long time. That’s why I think brands like Ana Luisa, Mejuri, and Astrid & Miyu are killing it.
Major luxury brands are trying to talk to Gen Z. How has this landed so far?
Luxury brands that have an older demographic and have been around for a long time
already have prestige in Gen Z’s eyes. Tiffany will always be Tiffany, Cartier will always be Cartier, no matter what. So when they market directly to Gen Z consumers, and use platforms like TikTok and Instagram, I think it comes across as a little try-hard.
How is Gen Z going to change the industry?
I think that purchasing vintage pieces of jewelry will drastically increase for our generation, and we will appreciate and value those pieces much more than what is being produced today.
What does the natural-diamond industry need to do to connect better with your generation?
Gen Z just doesn’t know enough about natural diamonds to be able to appreciate them. If they found a way to educate Gen Z about the positives of the natural- diamond industry in a way that they would respond well to, they would be able to better connect with those younger consumers.
This article is from RDI Diamonds’ June Gem Z special report. View other articles here.
Images: Angela Romeo