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The Ultimate Goal

Updated: May 7

January Market Report

February tends to sneak up on us. It also serves as a sudden reminder to get on with those New Year’s resolutions we made seemingly just a few days ago.

How in tune have we been with our goals for 2024 over the past month? Was it enough to continue the momentum through the rest of the year?


Sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest from the trees. We need to recognize that each small step contributes to our greater goal. Those everyday tasks can be frustrating as they don’t always yield immediate results.


I personally am aiming to build my business as a consultant, content creator and digital advisor in the diamond and jewelry industry. To do so, I’m gradually raising my own digital presence on social media and various other channels of communication.  That’s something I believe we all need to do to stay relevant and elevate one’s profile in the industry – regardless of our role within the distribution chain.


Consistency is a challenge, and it can be disheartening when a piece of content doesn’t meet its intended targets. I know, though, that it is serving a greater purpose. The bigger challenge is how to stand out in such a noisy and crowded social media environment. I hope, if you’re reading this, you find some value in my content.


The diamond industry seems to face the same challenge on a broader scale. We’re trying to figure out how to stand out and showcase the added value that natural diamonds offer versus competing products. That is certainly the case when compared to lab-grown diamonds, but more importantly in the struggle for market share against other luxury items, experiences, and gadgets.


That central theme plays out when I consider how the market evolved in January. Consider the following developments during the month:


  •       De Beers reduced its rough prices by 10% to 15% after buying stalled for two months from mid-October. Rough demand improved as De Beers’ sales valued at $370 million, versus $137 million in December. However, sales were below last year’s levels, and De Beers recorded its lowest January revenue since 2009.


  •       Rough tenders and auctions were steady and offered better value than De Beers sights.

  •        The polished market was stable, though perhaps not as buoyant as we would have hoped after the slump in rough buying during the fourth quarter helped reduce polished inventory levels.  

  •         Retail jewelers remained cautious to replace inventory after an average holiday season. US jewelry sales declined 2% year on year in November-December, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.    

  •         The market in China gave mixed messages, with the recovery there driven by strong demand for gold products. Gem-set jewelry and diamonds stayed sluggish, however, as reported by Chow Tai Fook and Luk Fook, two of the largest jewelry chains in the region. Hong Kong was better than mainland China.  

  •         The exception has been the high end, with luxury houses such as Richemont (owner of Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels), LVMH (Tiffany & Co. and Bulgari), and Swatch Group (which has Harry Winston), reporting robust performances in the fourth quarter, and across all markets.   


What does all that have to do with showing value in a crowded marketplace? To state the obvious, that’s where the successes and failures were shown in the past two-to-three months. The high end speaks for itself. It seems lower value, or mid-range and commercial-quality diamond jewelry have a tougher time of capturing the imagination of the consumer. That uncertainty is filtered through the polished and rough markets.


Amid the daily slog, are we asking, how do we entice consumers to allocate more of their budget to diamond jewelry? What is so special about our product that deserves their attention? Those are questions that should be on all our minds in 2024. As we put into daily action the small elements that make up our strategy, February is a point in the year to remember the ultimate goals they’re designed to achieve.

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