By Hemdeep Patel
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit my daughter’s Grade 4 class to make a brief presentation on gemmology, as well as the gemstone and diamond industries. It was meant to be part of their geology studies, which they were studying at the time, and so the principle focus of my talk revolved around some of the core foundations of our industry.
In order to prepare, I jotted down basic facts regarding how gemstones and diamonds are mined and cut, as well as some of the interesting features of a few varieties. With information in hand, I felt quite prepared to educate this group of nine-year-olds on the finer points of our industry.
As the students listened to my presentation, I found myself fielding a wide range of ‘why’ questions. Why are the months of the year assigned a specific birthstone? Why are some gemstones given certain names? Now these questions led me to think of those we ask within our industry about how things are done. Though many of us have a fairly good understanding of the jewellery marketplace, I think we have entered a stage in the rapid growth of the industry where we have stopped asking some ‘why’ questions and accepted issues and trends as the new norm. And in some cases, we have refrained from asking questions entirely.
Critical questions may not have quick or easy answers, but rest assured they have to be thought about in a meaningful way, as they can have a direct impact on the success and health of our industry and by extension, your business. The most unique feature of the jewellery industry is that many wide-ranging global and local factors and trends affect the marketplace, such as how the changing price of rough diamonds or gemstones at the mining level impacts the price of polished stones; likewise, the surge in the price of gold over the last five years. Consider also how many jewellers use social media to increase their brand awareness. This is one industry where a knowledgeable member can be well-prepared to make wise choices for their business.