Without jewelers there is no diamond business. There are lots of reasons for this. It’s the jewelers who get the money from consumers that supports the entire diamond pipeline. Without the money from jewelers, the entire system collapses. Who is going to mine, manufacture, and wholesale diamonds if you can’t sell them?
Diamonds are not so much a commodity as an idea. They have no utility. They are a symbol of human interaction. They are a product that requires people to stimulate desire for them. It’s not just education and explaining diamond quality. It’s trust. If consumers don’t trust jewelers, they won’t buy diamonds. The development of consumer desire and trust requires human relations and that is what independent jewelers do best.
Independent jewelers are under pressure and our trade is not doing enough to support them. Once upon a time De Beers, which controlled 80% of mine production, was able to spend hundreds of million dollars on marketing campaigns that created diamond desire and drove consumers to jewelers.
Not so anymore. The trade assumes jewelers will always keep buying diamonds, but why? What are we doing to drive consumers to independent jewelers? What are we doing to ensure that jewelers are motivated to sell our diamonds?
Can independent jewelers make an honest living selling natural diamonds? Is there enough profit to support the personal added value they provide? Perhaps not. According to Signet, the world’s largest jeweler, independent jewelers are its greatest competitor and currently represent about two-thirds of specialty jewelry sales.
Will sophisticated, scalable, internet-interactive Signet replace smaller independent jewelers? Does our industry need small jewelers? How important are local human relationships for the sale of diamonds? What should independent jewelers do? What should the trade do?