Edited by Jennifer Heebner, Editor in Chief
What’s on tap for 2023? AGTA reached out to its membership and other important industry leaders for insights into what they think the new year will bring. Read on to learn all of their industry predictions.
Jaimeen Shah, Prima Gems
Even though business is tough at the moment, and I believe that we have at least another six months of challenging times ahead of us, the reality at the source is that too many dealers are fighting over too few new stones coming out of the ground. High-end gemstones are extremely sought after, and every new purchase is breaking previous price records. I don’t see this trend easing in the near future.
Prices at Ruby and Emerald auctions have been at least 10–15% higher than previous ones. Good Tsavorites and Spinels are fetching record prices in Tanzania. High-end Indicolites are almost nonexistent, and even though there is production of Rubellite Tourmaline, the prices are 30–50% higher than previous productions!
Belle Brooke Barer, Belle Brooke Designs
I think the death of such an iconoclast style icon like Vivienne Westwood (who died Dec. 29) ties into what will infuse and inspire the jewelry trends in 2023. I hope what we will see is more designers breaking the mold and speaking out through a banishment of the status quo. I’d love to see more designers stepping into that weird crazy punkish space that is off the maps and exploring jewelry design from the inside out and truly beating to the rhythm of their own drum. I think as a society we are coming into this place of empowerment and authenticity in ourselves both collectively and individually. All hail the iconoclast, the rebel, and the wild woman!
Yvonne C. Raley, Cecile Raley Designs
I think the market will see more Madagascan goods again now that the export issues are partly resolved. We bought some goods during COVID via WhatsApp between 2020 and 2021, and the gems finally came to us in October 2022. That said, we do expect prices of many goods to rise—Sapphires, in particular—and Paraíba Tourmaline. Teal colors and rectangular cuts such as radiants, but also Asscher cuts, are in big demand.
Geoffrey Watt, Mayer & Watt
I’m not going to sit back and say it’s all rosy outlook for 2023. But I think what I heard from some of my best clients—retail jewelers—is that they didn’t get that Christmas pop because their customers rebuilt their kitchens. Jewelry store owners didn’t get that big Christmas sale because their client bought a new EV car. I don’t think people were not spending money, I just think they didn’t spend it on jewelry for Christmas this year as opposed to the past few. Overall, our sales haven’t slowed to a halt. We are at pre-pandemic numbers again. I think we will build on those numbers for 2023.
Gonen and Renata Abrahami, ABC Gems
Higher income households will spend more because of the way they’ve been spending. I think this has a lot to do with the stock market not doing well, so people are putting money into concrete possessions, including color. This is what I’m seeing from my sales. And I believe higher-end stones and jewelry will sell better. Color is going to be in demand. Diamond prices fluctuate, but Emerald prices have either stayed the same or risen. This is true for all colored stones, not just Emeralds.
Derek Katzenbach, Katzenbach Designs
I think this next year will be great for our industry and will be centered on service and building one-of-a-kind custom treasures for our customers. Customers want to buy meaningful pieces to represent special moments in their lives, so I think custom work is going to be big.
This is a Spinel pendant I made for a good client over Christmas. I think it’s a great example of what 2023 will bring more of; the client wanted a memorable “first” pendant to give to her daughter with her birthstone, Spinel. I custom faceted the center stone from Tajikistan and then built a one-of-a-kind 18K gold pendant with more Spinel accents. We even snuck in a Spinel in the filigree on the back of the pendant.
Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney
I feel that 2023 is going to be very good for everyone, just maybe not quite as good as this year and last. I’ll be taking a slightly more conservative approach than last year, and by that I mean that I’ll buy gems but pace out making the jewelry perhaps a little more than I have been doing. This is how I feel now about the temperature of the industry leading into Tucson, but that could change in a month. All in all, I still expect another great year.
Peggy Grosz, Assael
We see continued demand and sales for Pearls of every type. A combination of Pearls and colored gemstones and interesting nontraditional materials are selling, and so is Pearl and Diamond jewelry! The demand for Pearl and Diamond jewelry is here and not going anywhere. I don’t know how much should be attributed to the natural pendulum swing of things or how much the Natural Diamond Council caused, but I believe it will be a very important category and growing in the upcoming years. In jewelry categories, chokers and long ropes of Pearls—the two extremes—will remain in demand.
Hayley Henning, Greenland Ruby
I am anticipating a more stable year as we self-adjust to what has now become known as the new normal. I strongly predict that what was revolutionary and unknown up until now will become more mainstream. Digital communications and business in general, like NFTs and blockchain, will gain more traction as we start to understand, appreciate, and demand the authenticity, human, and environmental impacts of our purchases. Experience-based everything, from shopping and gastronomy to travel and art, will grow in importance as people want to feel, enjoy, and be immersed with all the senses. They are looking for personalization and custom design, and something special to reflect their individuality.
The warmth and comfort of colors and textures, like matte gold, as a trend will grow not only in fashion but in jewelry. Pink of every shade and hue hits the runway as well as Main Street. Barbiecore! Pink is the new white! Gems, jewelry, shoes, makeup, fashion, home décor, and lifestyle, we are looking to lighten up, freshen up, and add a little color to our lives!
Christian Tse, Christian Tse Designs, Christian Tse Design & Manufacturing, and Formula 3D
The news of a current or looming recession is causing everyone to second guess purchasing decisions. Smart manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers, however, should look carefully at their own customer bases and make decisions based on their own business experiences. This is what we are doing as well; you don’t want to be reactionary to news. In manufacturing, things take about three years to turn around or bring online. That’s a long lead time to solve supply and demand issues for consumers or brands.
Kimberly Collins, Kimberly Collins Colored Gems
The new year will be what you make of it! With all the looming predictions and talk about recession, jewelers may have to dig in and grind a little harder than normal. However, I believe the rich keep buying. Those who work hard and keep things happening make money. Dealers have some trouble with gem supply, and prices are up, but as history proves itself, exclusivity and rarity (Birkin bag or Rolex, anyone?) sometimes make the end consumer want luxury goods even more.
Yehouda Saketkhou, Yael Designs
Colored gems have a lot of potential for 2023. I say this based on the importance of customization that I see in our industry and others. I like to look at other industries to better understand human trends. For example, take the shoe industry. It’s becoming common for people to order a pair of shoes with their name printed boldly on them. It’s the same with jewelry—people like to personalize pieces, including colors.
The issue is that stores are conservative, so they are less inclined to buy color-change garnets and other under-the-radar gems. If stores don’t have a variety of colored gems, consumers don’t see the options and can’t pick what they don’t know exists. Even Blue Nile has expanded into colored gems with so many different colors—including Tourmaline and Paraíba, not just Sapphires.
If you read the trade journals you know the fastest growing and most profitable part of the jewelry industry has been colored gemstones. Stores that have been investing in unique color and training to meet the growing number of sophisticated buyers will continue to have record profits in 2023. Color resonates with people, so if a variety of colors is offered, shoppers can see how to personalize jewels to themselves. Stores need to show more than just Ruby, Emerald, and Sapphire.
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