For jewelry industry insiders, the talk about town has been all about the hardest natural substance on earth, its various forms and uses, and (perhaps most importantly) how we can continue to talk about it and sell it to consumers. Debate rages on in public and private arenas over the disclosure of synthetics, consumer-driven pricing, the ethics of mining, and even whether or not it should remain a cornerstone of the jewelry world.
Diamonds can be rough, man.
Fortunately, while opinions on all sides abound, many of our best and brightest are willing to participate in open conversations with each other and with the consumer community. This can only be to our mutual benefit, and as a strong proponent of encouraging an educated buyer, I was thrilled to play a supporting role in bringing a diverse group of leaders to engage with the topic and each other.
At the reception following the panel, I managed to wander around with my camera in one hand and glass of something bubbly in the other, and
eavesdropped listened to the general chatter. The mood was festive and light (for a Wednesday), but the conversations were anything but frivolous: at every turn, I heard both industry veterans and uninitiated consumers alike deep in dialogue about everything from the overwhelming presence of the modern brilliant cut diamond (“but macles and rose cuts are making a comeback!”) to a debate over the merits of carrying both natural and synthetic diamonds in a retail store (“do we show them side-by-side, or separate them in the showcase?”).
This is what we need — this open communication, migrating from large-scale public forums to discrete tête-à-têtes and back again, is what will preserve the jewel industry’s reputation and push the development of new and engaging design, sales, and other initiatives from the back room to the billboard. Without frank conversations about disclosure, environmental impact, sourcing, selling, and every other fact of this business, there won’t be product to sell or consumer to buy.
So I encourage everyone reading this to (sorry) get engaged. Yes, that’s right: engage with your colleagues, your employees, your friends. Spark the conversation, and direct it toward topics and points of interest that require knowledge you don’t already have. Learn something. Ask a question, get a little uncomfortable, and test out those new ideas.
Oh, and tell me how it goes. Report back, check in, and share what you learned with the rest of us. We mine precious things to bring them to light, and information is the most precious resource of all.
The following experts comprised our WJA Boston panel discussion, a little something we called Do Diamonds Matter? Rhetorical question for some, perhaps, but each panelist responded in an incredibly thoughtful and insightful way:
Raquel Alonso-Perez, Ph.D., FGA, Curator, Mineralogical & Geological Museum
Alan Bronstein, President Natural Color Diamond Assoc (NCDIA)
Brandee Dallow, WJA International Board President
Alan Hart, FGA, CDA, CEO Gemological Assoc of Great Britain, London
Adonis Pouroulis, Chairman Petra Diamonds, London
Gary Roskin, G.G.(GIA) FGA, Exec Dir, International Colored Gemstones Association, New York
Jennifer Schloss, Physics Ph.D. Candidate, Physics, Harvard University, MIT (Dual)
Panel Moderator: Emily Stoehrer„ Ph.D. Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston