As we enter the second half of 2022, I continue to reflect upon how distinctly different our current existence is, since the beginning of the pandemic and how much has transpired over the course of the last six months, alone.
As a proud, first generation (Gen-X) Australian, I consider myself fortunate to have reach my mid-forties relatively unimpacted by economic crisis, particularly during my formative years. Not to diminish the impact of crisis on the generations of Australians before my mine and the generations after me, my vague recollection of interest rates reaching what was then an all-time high, and the subsequent recession, in the 80’s, did not impact my life one iota - I still went about my daily routine, without any significant disturbances.
Overall, Australia rode through the last Global Financial Crisis with far more ease than most countries around the world.
Fast-forward to July 2022. Over the course of the last two years, Australians have been faced with the devastation of fires, floods, a never-ending and perpetually evolving pandemic - causing major disruption to our businesses, our education, the way we do groceries, our medical system and over-all the way we connect, on every level, in every sphere of life.
Petrol prices have reached an all-time high. We have recently seen a huge surge in electricity and gas prices. The cost of basic, core needs are, in fact, astronomical. Iceberg lettuce anyone?!
Australians are adaptable and resilient. Like the phoenix rising from the flames, we continue to rise to opportunity. Unfortunately, so does inflation!
Amidst the challenges and chaos, through the uncertainty of these unprecedented times, one thing is absolute; our lives will never be the same.
Over the course of the last two years, the way we operate and connect through our businesses has vastly transformed our lives. The way we communicate to our colleagues and with our clients has evolved. We rely on technology to stay connected. We have also become largely driven by what we see via our social media platforms. Our popularity based on filtered images, following, likes, hashtags, comments and overall, perception.
At a time where the culture of our society shifts focus to the importance of ‘look’, rather than ‘feel’, I grow concerned about all that is organic and natural, from our means of connection to that of diamonds.
The Australian jewellery trade has seen a marked increase in the demand of laboratory-grown diamonds (LGD), this year. Whilst the ultimate goal maybe to obtain a natural diamond, the current cost of living and the increasing cost of natural diamonds has Australian consumers buying into what I have heard described as, ‘perceived value dream’. ‘Flash for cash’ reigns high in that dream.
Make no mistake, I DO believe there is a place in the Australian market for LGDs and this sector of the market will continue to flourish. Simply put, I personally do not believe that the demand for LGDs, in Australia, will surpass that of natural diamonds.
What is of growing concern is the marketing and disclosure of LGD. Also, concerns of cross-pollination of LGDs infiltrating the natural diamond market. Ensuring transparency and are in fact, informed when purchasing LGDs is of paramount importance. This impacts every sector of the trade, right through the supply chain to the consumer.
The Jewellers Association of Australia align with and support CIBJO Laboratory-Grown Diamond Guidelines regulations on the marketing, branding, grading and sales of LGDs. The JAA endeavour to work with the ACCC to ensure that these global regulations are also adhered to across Australia.
We continue to welcome all JAA members and the Australian jewellery industry, at large, to reach out to us for further information, should you require support on the marketing, branding and sales of LGDs. We also welcome you to connect with us should you require assistance or advice on any other industry matters.
Karen Denaro, JAA President