Do you remember how you got started in the jewelry business? At the beginning of a new decade, and at a time when many independents, in business for years, are closing, it’s good to remember what drew us to jewelry to begin with.
Many inherited a family business, or had family members in the industry, and were naturally drawn to it years ago. Some have had family in the business for generations. Some started as bench jewelers, or jewelry artists, or watchmakers, some love gems and went thru GIA to become gemologists, some have a natural affinity for sales and entered through that portal. Some are writers, editors or influencers. And some just love jewelry!
The jewelry business is a happy business. It’s addictive. It’s great to spend your days surrounded by beautiful jewelry, helping people find gifts they love for others or themselves, to share with customers their special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and special holidays. For those that are “people persons,” it’s an ideal profession.
It’s also a great industry, in a sense a large family, with tight connections across the many branches, and many opportunities to connect regularly through trade shows, organizations such as the American Gem Society or the 24 Karat Club, industry magazines, and online (Thanks Aleah for Jewelers Helping Jewelers!) and “on the road.” Shows are fun events, where you can connect with friends and clients yearly and catch up. And it’s not all work and no play, with plenty of opportunities for celebrating and partying (with great venues such as JCK Vegas).
As a jewelry designer, I love to connect with other designers and often speak on panels at conferences, such as AGS Conclaves and AGTA GemFair Tucson on topics of interest to designers and jewelers in general, such as the creative designing process, or the socially responsible sourcing of gems and metals. I often interview other designers and feature them (as you may have noticed I’ve often done in Southern & Mid-America Jewelry News). I love sharing their back stories and comparing notes on gems, design trends, and what’s new in the industry.
I also maintain close connections with many retailers who carry or are interested in carrying our Collections and visit them often throughout the year. It’s invaluable going “into the trenches,” seeing what’s happening in stores, how they’re promoting our line, what trends they’re experiencing, how business has been, and what their customers are asking for. Retailers are our partners and we do everything we can to support them with Trunk Shows, maintaining close contact throughout the year.
I originally became fascinated with gemstones, collecting them from around the world, and wanting to learn more about them. Naturally as my collections grew, I started designing jewelry to accentuate the natural beauty of the gems. And it all grew from there. Today we continue to source our gemstones from around the world. And I love to visit our factories in India and seek out new sources of gems and suppliers.
World-wide, those in the jewelry industry share a deep affinity, speak the “same language” (regardless of country), understand each other on an underlying level. One of our main suppliers has been in the business for 19 generations! It’s an ancient profession, one that’s very vibrant today, always expanding and adapting.
If you’ve been in the business for years, it’s great to step back and take a wider perspective at the launch of a new decade, and remember what you loved about jewelry to begin with, the original fascination. To balance the closing of stores, there’s renewed hope in new stores opening up by those in their twenties or thirties, getting their GIA degrees, and launching stores featuring designer jewelry or bridal, a trend I frequently experience in my travels.
Jewelry, the impulse to decorate oneself with beautiful objects, transcends all cultures throughout the ages. It’s a human impulse, as ancient as humanity itself. As we enter the new decade, it will be fascinating to see how our profession expands and adapts to our rapidly changing world, and to continue to share the journey with others who have chosen the same path.