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How Will the Russia-Ukraine War Affect the Jewelry Business? Retailers Weigh In

The Brain Squad shares their feelings on how the conflict will affect them.

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question:

How do you think the Russia-Ukraine conflict is affecting (or will affect) the jewelry business?

  • As owners, we feel a great responsibility to know that we are not contributing to Russia’s ability to commit war crimes in Ukraine. We have reached out to every vendor to ask whether they buy from Alrosa. We searched for a list of Alrosa siteholders and made a commitment not to purchase diamonds directly from any of these companies. We also reached out to our buying groups to ask them to query their vendors for the same reason. We realize prices of diamonds will go up and our choice to boycott Russian diamonds will make our sourcing job more difficult, but in the end, no amount of profit is worth contributing to what is happening to the Ukrainian people, and we want to do all we can to stand with them as U.S. citizens. — Joy Thollot, Thollot Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Thornton, CO
  • It’s hard to say this soon, but I think it will create uncertainty in the minds of consumers. Between already high inflation, add in stock and commodity volatility, and international conflict with unforeseen consequences … I think it will be hard for people to make big spending decisions in the short term. More info needed for longer term effects. — Lucy Conklin, Toner Jewelers, Overland Park, KS
  • Customers are concerned. There may be some drawing back, but not everyone. The issue for most right now is the price of gas having shot up nearly a $1 a gallon since it started. That, along with gas more than doubling in price since January 2021, is causing financial strain on many. — Dale Robertson, Dale Robertson Jewelry, Loveland, OH
  • Combined with the cold weather, slower traffic and higher gas prices, things are a bit slower. I think people are a bit uneasy. It will affect people traveling that way, so hopefully they keep buying. Bridal will be crazy this year. — Amanda Lanteigne, Gold-N-Memories, Steinbach, MB
  • I believe people will have a wait-and-see attitude on discretionary purchases because of inflation and the threat of war with Russia/Iran/North Korea/China, along with our major domestic political issues. — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • Too new to tell the effect. All wars have effects. — Varsenne Massoyan, Massoyan Jewelers, Old Tappan, NJ
  • Increased commodity prices, contraction of international diamond trade (Russian diamonds ARE now real blood diamonds) … domestic inflation is increasing at far faster rates, which will hurt the average consumer … those of us in the Energy Corridor should benefit from the oil and gas industry increasing revenue and thus increasing wages and employment, but that will take a while to cycle down the retailers. — Rex Solomon, Houston Jewelry, Houston, TX
  • Short and long term, it will hurt the jewelry business due to the additional inflation it will cause. There will be less disposable luxury income. — Medford Chason, Treasure Hut, North Charleston, SC
  • Everyone is scared … I know we are. Even though we are very busy, our streets are slow. Everyone is watching this nightmare play out and it’s not a movie … humans are dying … this is shameful! — Sherrie Schilling-Devaney, Sherrie’s Jewelry Box, Tigard, OR
  • Since certain sanctions are sure to hit the mines and the capabilities of exports, I believe natural diamonds will go up eventually. Perhaps even making lab-grown look more appealing. — Michelle Thompson, Craig Husar Fine Diamonds and Jewelry Designs, Brookfield, WI
  • So much emotion has hit us from COVID, now a war. Jewelry is an emotional product. People will continue to buy, feeling their immortality and not traveling as in the past. More disposable income. — Kas Jacquot, Kas A Designs, Jefferson City, MO
  • “Conflict”? I think that you mean: “Russian invasion of Ukraine.” It will affect everything around the world … economics, security, product availability and mental health of clients. — Steven Wardle, Forest Beach Design, Chatham, MA
  • That negative news as well as all the inflation news will cause some to slow down their spending. But not all. Still plenty to be had out there. — Tom R. Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA
  • Russia doesn’t have anything that can’t be sourced somewhere else. — Mark Thomas Ruby, SunSpirit Designs, Loveland, CO
  • Well, gold is up $130 an ounce in a week, so it is going to suck! — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
  • I think it will drive up gold and labor costs and probably squeeze the supply chains tighter. — Andrea Riso, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA
  • Some diamond houses tout the higher-quality Russian goods, and once you put that out there, that’s a hard hurdle to overcome now. — Trevor Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA
  • The uncertainty will affect how willing people are to spend. On the other hand, in the past we have sold some larger pieces for sentimental occasions during times of upheaval. — Nancy and Pierre Plante, Plante Jewelers, Swansea, MA
  • There has been little effect on my business. — Bradley Marks, IW Marks Jewelers, Houston, TX
  • It sure as &^%$ won’t help. — Jim Saylor, Jim Saylor Jewelers, Kapaa, HI
  • It’s driving up the price of gold, so that’s having an immediate impact for us. From a more general standpoint, we have no idea how it will affect other raw materials or markets. We don’t deal with super-rich Russian oligarchs, but if we did, I suppose sanctions would ensure that we … didn’t … — Gretchen Schaffner, Eytan’s Designs, Sherman Oaks, CA
  • Well, I, for one, will never knowingly buy a Russian diamond until Putin abdicates or is deposed by the people of Russia. I have already been asked if a diamond I was showing was of Russian origin. The best thing jewelers can do is vote with our wallets. — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • It’s not good. It will continue to have a trickle-down effect, whether it be gas or supply chain issues. Along with the day-to-day decline in our morale, we are all aware that a modern-day Hitler is on the rampage while our government sits back and says, “Bad dictator, don’t do that!” — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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