Diamond Trends 2014: Industry Insight from JCK

Ritani digital billboard at Harmon Corner

As you may have heard, last week the Jewelers’ Circular Keystone (or JCK) held their annual jewelry trade show, which is the biggest in the United States. By now the dust has settled, all the booths are packed up, and hopefully everyone got some much-needed rest after a fun and exciting week in Las Vegas.

JCK is an excellent trade show for many reasons. It gives us an opportunity to catch up with our retailer partners, fellow designers, and the hottest trends in jewelry. Naturally, the latest advancements in the diamond industry caught my eye in particular. Read on for my 3 top diamond trends from JCK.

Diamond technology

Ritani jewelry booth at JCK

The most significant change I noticed is that diamond cutters and suppliers are adjusting their infrastructure to embrace new advances in technology.

First, suppliers are working to implement real-time diamond inventory. This industry is a particularly difficult one for creating real-time inventory systems. Most diamond cutters and suppliers have offices all over the world – in India, Hong Kong, Israel, and the United States. This makes it extremely difficult to keep track of where one stone is at a given time!

Previously, it was a challenge to guarantee a diamond’s availability to a customer, because it could be getting cut or graded anywhere in the world. Diamond vendors are now creating thorough databases that will track a diamond’s location and availability. From a customer’s point of view, the diamond purchasing process will be much easier and far less stressful. You will be able to know if a diamond is available, where it is, and if it can be held for you practically instantly. Before, the process involved calling a diamond supplier, asking after a stone’s availability, and then waiting weeks for the answer.

In addition to real-time inventory, diamond vendors are also seeing a rising need for high quality diamond imagery. If you saw my previous post on Ritani’s diamond imagery, you know that this is no easy feat. Nowadays, suppliers big and small are feeling the pressure to create comprehensive imagery for their inventories. Again, this will be an excellent improvement on the customer side of things, because added visibility creates more trust and confidence in a diamond purchase.

Cushion cut diamonds on the rise

Ritani cushion cut diamond

For a long time the popularity rankings of different cuts of diamonds was: first round, then princess, and then all other diamond shapes falling somewhere behind these two. However, that’s about to change as popularity has shifted away from princess and towards cushion as the second most popular diamond cut. Inventory demand for cushion cut diamonds is at an all-time high, getting closer and closer to reaching the demand for princess cut.

In the early 2000s, princess cut diamonds were at the height of their popularity. As that popularity fades, suppliers are trying to find a way to keep selling princess cuts. HRA Group, the largest supplier of Forevermark diamonds in Canada, has been re-branding their princess cut stones as “square cuts”. This clever strategy allows them to sell their princess cuts without seeming passé or off-trend!

Bespoke is better

Ritani jewelry display case at JCK

The diamond industry is also finding ways to cater to today’s customer. The modern diamond consumer is attracted to local, handcrafted, high quality products. The word on everyone’s lips today is “bespoke”, which is another way to say totally custom-made.

My prediction is that in 2014, the demand for customizable diamond jewelry will continue to rise. Diamond consumers want a piece that is personalized to their individual taste, and this will create new and unique opportunities for jewelry designers. Even consumers that stay on top of every fad will want a piece that is on-trend, yet truly their own.

At Ritani, all of our rings are handcrafted in New York, and we are proud to take part in the resurgence of products that are made in the USA. We definitely feel in tune with today’s customer, in that all of our engagement rings are customizable and handcrafted on-site with an eye for detail.

These 3 diamond trends from JCK make me excited and hopeful for the rest of 2014, and for the future of the diamond industry in general. The new focus is on improving the customer experience, which we support wholeheartedly.

Did you visit or read about all of the fine jewelry at JCK 2014? Which diamond and jewelry trends are you noticing on the rise this year? Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, and pictures in the comments below!