Rapaport Magazine

Future first

Four industry members and commentators give their predictions for 2022.

By Joshua Freedman, Avi Krawitz and Leah Meirovich

Image: Clockwise from top left: Kealeboga Pule; Adrianne Sanogo; Severine Ferrari; Dave Marcotte

Kealeboga Pule
Founder and managing director of Nungu Diamonds, a South African supplier of jewelry and polished stones

Responsible sourcing used to be the last thing a person considered when they made a purchase, but it’s beginning to become more and more of a decisive factor. In 2022, we’ll start seeing a whole lot more of it. When you see De Beers beginning to put its weight behind the idea of responsible sourcing [through its Code of Origin branding and traceability program], then you know that the consumer cares.

Beneficiation [manufacturing of diamonds in the country where the rough was mined] is also going to become a bigger factor. This is again linking back to the responsible sourcing: What impact are diamonds really having on people’s lives? At least in the midstream, [ethical sourcing] is going to be a huge factor, and it will filter down into retail. If you’re a smart enough jeweler, you’ll align yourself with a company that can help you easily sell your diamonds by [enabling you to declare,] “I can say for a fact that my diamond is changing lives.”

As for design trends, in the past few months, oval diamonds have been a hit with everybody. I’ve had so many inquiries from people wanting to buy oval diamonds, and they continue to be popular.

Consumers’ approach is now, “The simpler the better.” You can be completely innovative with your design, but people want to buy diamond jewelry that they can wear every day and not just wait for that one occasion where maybe sometime some person is going to get married and I’m going to take out this piece and wear it.

Adrianne Sanogo
Cofounder and education chair at the Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC)

I draw inspiration from the work that I’m involved in and my love of diamonds. As a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graduate gemologist and a cofounder of the Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC), my focus is on education, but I’m looking at different aspects of the market.

I predict that interest in so-called imperfect diamonds, where the inclusions are visible, will continue to grow. People have embraced salt-and-pepper diamonds, which present something unique.

I’m seeing a lot more men’s jewelry. Men are wearing diamonds in their wedding bands, and they’re experimenting with diamond brooches, tennis bracelets, necklaces, and studs. This is influenced by the red carpet, but also by hip-hop culture, which is increasingly visible.

The third important trend that will no doubt intensify is the emphasis on responsible sourcing. More retailers are also talking about sustainability and being eco-friendly, and they’re taking advantage of the digital space to educate the consumer.

Finally, at the BIJC, I am producing content to educate middle and high schoolers in marginalized communities about careers in the jewelry industry. People don’t realize there are opportunities to build careers, but it is gaining interest.

Severine Ferrari
Founder of wedding site Engagement 101

I am expecting a big boom in the wedding-band business in 2022. Many couples will finally be able to plan their dream wedding after postponing the date many times or eloping. I am hearing that some couples who eloped are even buying a second set of wedding rings.

The demand for gender-free engagement rings and wedding bands is on the rise and will keep growing in years to come. Generation Z, younger millennials and members of the LGBTQ communities feel like gender labels are a thing of the past.

In 2022, everyone will be looking for a custom engagement ring that feels unique to them — from little tweaks to traditional styles, to looking for rings that do not look like typical engagement rings.

Lastly, multi-stone engagement rings mixing old (family heirloom resets) and new stones are one of the strongest trends I am seeing this engagement season, and it will blossom even more in 2022. They include these four types of settings: three-stone rings, toi et moi rings, gypsy rings and cluster rings.

Dave Marcotte
Senior vice president of global research at retail advisory group Kantar Consulting

  1. Shoppers will shift from high-volume to high-value items. The surge in retail in all channels has been driven by shoppers buying large quantities of goods on each trip. That will change in 2022 as they become more discerning as to how the purchase will add to their quality of life.

  2. In-person will continue to rise as consumers’ preferred shopping method. Online commerce will be more convenience-oriented.

  3. The return of international tourism. There has been a gradual rise in cross-border travel and international flights. These travelers impact luxury retail in airports, duty free, upscale malls, and urban flagships.

  4. An increase in air-cargo space. About 50% of air freight is “belly cargo” on passenger flights. As those global travelers have returned, there is a parallel increase [in the number of] aircraft in operation and more space available for high-value, low-volume luxury products.

  5. A spike in celebrations as long-deferred weddings, graduations and anniversary occasions surge onto calendars. [This is in addition to] the need for those special gifts and commitment items that are critical to the cycles of celebration.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - January 2022. To subscribe click here.

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