Has Technology Killed the Jewelry Industry? - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society
What changed? It used to be that the precursor to the engagement ring was the fancy anniversary necklace or the tear-drop earrings. By the time the engagement ring purchase rolled around, men had a fairly cursory understanding of the 4 C’s (cut, clarity, color, and carat). But now, even post-recession, the jewelry retail industry remains sluggish after a precipitous decline. Millennials, meanwhile, are spending more money than ever on tech and travel. A diamond may be forever, but in a generation that values impermanence, the one-time slogan of the century is looking more and more like an outdated mantra.
Nowadays, the only time my friends are impressed by the fact that my dad is a jeweler tends to be when one of them is inching closer to getting engaged—usually accompanied by a wink and a nudge of, “Can I get a friends and family discount?” And to be sure, many a friend has come to the Shah Jewel office, looking for a ring to propose to his fiancée with, or a pair of earrings to add to her collection. But as my dad points out, those repeat customers are fewer and further between (and when they do show up, they often don’t know much about the jewelry market), because, just like me, my friends have outgrown the idea of jewelry—even if we never fully grew into it to begin with.