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Readers Share Their Thoughts on Lab-Grown Diamonds, the Tucson Shows, Expectations for 2024 and More

Many wonder how sales will fare during an election year.

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  • I loved the article on big-picture planning. We are always trying new things and sharing it with our customers. — Karen H., Batavia, IL
  • A week after we came home from Tucson last year, we decided to open a third location. I wish we had made the decision BEFORE we went. Hopping on the plane tomorrow morning. Luckily our fourth store is currently being painted right now. That’s right, two new stores in two years. Luckily, the variety in Tucson is so immense that we can buy for four different store locations and not one collection will be the same. Tucson is quintessential. — Ellie M., St. Michaels, MD
  • Tucson has become convoluted, redundant and very much overpriced from the product to the accommodations. Hong Kong represents much better value to us. — Brad L., Duncan, BC
  • This is the ninth presidential election cycle, and probably last, I’ll go through since starting my business. This one makes me more nervous than any in the past. — Stew B., Natick, MA
  • The way things are going with my drop in January, I would have to predict that 2024 is going to be a slow year. Statistics don’t lie. — Christine M., Boyertown, PA
  • I think that 2024 will be good. Not great. Not a recession. It takes working way harder and staying ahead of the curve to survive with all varying types of competition out there and the rapidly changing technologies. — Andrea R., El Dorado Hills, CA
  • I find it interesting that with all the unease about natural and lab-grown diamond pricing, sales of gold jewelry are up. In some cases, way up. With gold prices well above $2,000 (at the moment), it sort of means that what we in the industry see as high prices, consumers seem to see as a meaningful, exciting purchase. Lesson learned. Next time we are tempted to lower prices, instead, believe that it will lead to more sales. — Alex W., Torrance, CA
  • I have the feeling that lab-grown diamonds will replace the bottom-end natural diamonds, and in five years, you will see very few of the low-color, low-clarity natural diamonds being cut. The only low-end diamonds you will be seeing in jewelry will be recycled; the other melee-intensive pieces will use lab-grown. The better natural stones will retain their market position. 40 years ago, the common quality was SI or better and G/ H or better, and anything less was used only in price-point jewelry. The common slang for the low-end goods was “drill bit material.” I hope we go back to this and make even price-point jewelry beautiful again. — Edwin M., Brainerd, MN
  • As for 2024, I’m still not sure. I keep hearing a lot of negativity, so that’s clouding my vision right now. I am sensing a change in the industry and love how ethical jewelry practices are becoming increasingly more important. — Laura K., Oak Park, IL
  • Wish they would move the Tucson show till after Valentine’s Day! It makes it hard for small shops to go! — Scott M., Phoenix, MD
  • I’m in Tucson right now; this is my favorite show. I bought loads of cool pearls and I can’t wait to get busy stringing them for spring. I’m thinking 2024 will be rocky because of war and the upcoming election. I’m praying we can all recognize and stamp out treachery and corruption, figure out how to sail this ship together. — Stacey H., Lincolnwood, IL
  • The back-and-forth banter about lab-grown diamonds has been interesting. So many views but basically fall into one of two camps. I guess it will be interesting in a year or so to see if the trade has created an ugly monster. And while a number of people seem to feel the consumer isn’t worried about the price drop, let’s see how that pans out in a year or two when some couples want an upgrade or to sell the item back. Pandora’s box is starting to squeak open. — David B., Calgary, AB
  • The bridal game has worn me out. There have been too many negative factors that have destroyed the romance of buying an engagement ring and wedding band. It’s no longer about the meaning of love and finding the right diamond. It’s become who can sell it the cheapest with no education or direction to the customer. The American consumer has been trained to shop for a price instead of a piece, and more flash for less cash seems to be the trend. I’m out on this. I’ll continue to sell my style of bridal, but this is not a lane I’m going to focus too much on. As long as it’s trench warfare fighting to sell the cheapest thing you can for little profit, I’ll stay on the higher ground and wait until everyone in the trench is gone. — Marc M., Midland, TX
  • We plunked along 2023 thinking it was pretty much like any other year, but when we did our year-end numbers, we found our online high-end sales had gone WAY down. We rely on 1stDibs as a platform for our better merch, and it failed us miserably in 2023. Would love to know if other jewelers are having similarly discouraging results. — Gretchen S., Sherman Oaks, CA
  • We had an excellent 2023 and are hopeful for an even better 2024! We now have all neutral matching display units for our fine jewelry, which has absolutely elevated our aesthetic and draws more attention to these cases. It was well worth the investment. Custom design is in constant demand and is one of my favorite aspects to this business. We’ve now been in business five years and have cultivated quite a following. We love building relationships with our customers and their loved ones! I plan to travel to the Tucson gem show. — Daniela B., Guilford, CT

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