Las Vegas 2019: guts without glory

Edahn Golan

When hit, we instinctively flinch. Close our eyes for a moment, crunch, and maybe turn sideways a little. But in a fight, that is the wrong thing to do. You’ll get hit, suffer and lose. Guts without glory. Every boxer knows that when a fist is heading in your direction, the smart thing to do is hit right back. It throws off your opponent, who is usually pretty open at that point, and this has a great psychological impact.

In a fight, your goal is more than to remain standing. You want to win. No matter what, even of the cost is an occasional blow. To win, you may need to suffer some pain, so hit back, don’t stop attacking, don’t flinch.

The diamond industry used to be a prize winner. It was young, feisty, fast, hungry, well financed, and had the ultimate sponsor. But at more than 100 years old, it’s a little tired, has less energy, bouncing back is tougher, the slower response time does not allow it  to hit back when a blow is sent in its direction.

Is the diamond industry an aging fighter losing its stand? A few recent events, including the just concluded trade shows in Las Vegas, may provide an answer.

Las Vegas Show was mixed

Nearly across the board, diamond traders reported slower sales compared to last year. They arrived with very low expectations, but even those that were positively surprised by the volume of activity had to admit to limited sales.

Sales of caraters and below in typical commercial American market goods were the better selling items, though prices were reduced to generate business.

Large goods, 10 carats and above, continue to suffer, and the decline in prices is not just ongoing. Their prices sank more than usual.

In between these two extremes, branded goods were in somewhat better demand than their non-branded counterparts, signifying the rising importance of provenance, name and the promise of higher quality that a good brand knows to provide.

For, jewelry, the story was different. Demand for lower cost jewelry was good and business was brisk. At the other end, high-end jewelry did very well, as those exhibiting at Couture can attest. The issue was with items retailing for $1,000-$5,000. Here, exhibitors reported a mix of demand with no clear favorite.

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