A. Key innovations
I. The evolution of material and design
- 3D printed jewelry: Supply chain automated
- The science of weird materials
Il. Blockchain is the future of traceability
III. Smart jewelry
- Wearable jewelry reinvents the world’s intimacy
- Healthcare: care to wear
B. Predictions: The store of the future
- An experience rather than a purchase
- Hey Siri, where can I buy a diamond ring for my wife?
- Hey Amazon, could you deliver my ring in 2 hours?
- Look at yourself, the ring is totally for you!
- Let’s use all that data
Let’s say 10 years from now, where will the jewelry industry go? As much struggling as it appears, it remains such a glittering one! Even though the economy is getting back on its feet (Annual global sales of €148 billion are expected to grow at a healthy clip of 5 to 6 percent each year, totaling €250 billion by 2020), there is an enormous amount of insecurity about the future of many upcoming brands, retailers etc, within the jewelry industry. Looking at the future can be done from many different perspectives, of course. McKinsey has their point of view, I have mine. Well, simply put, this 700 billion $ industry is moving towards the tech industry. Like all other luxuries, it constantly needs improvements.
The jewelry industry is a lot of things — interesting, creative, mysterious, complicated, tight-knit, old-fashioned. Nobody, however, would accuse it of being innovative or “ahead of the curve” when it comes to technology. Well, not until…
A. Key innovations
Below are a few tech innovations hitting the jewelry industry:
I. The evolution of material and design
3D printed jewelry: Supply chain automated
The new wave of cheaper, smaller, and faster 3D printers are behind industry-changing creation. Such innovative pieces of design have already transformed the value-chains of several industries, including the apparel. In fashion, 3D printing technology affects supply, production, logistics, and even consumption.
- It reduces overstock as the inventory is just virtual. Variations are open to the public and put online. Customers just need to customize their piece directly on the company’s website and print it either at home or to a nearby center, at a fraction of the cost.
- It shortens the lead times to personalize a unique model on-demand and be delivered with a final view of your prototype even faster.
- It permits to create even more complex jewelry pieces that we were not supposed to create with old techniques. Few 3d printers are even able to print a piece directly in gold reducing the cost of a prototype that directly reduces waste.
The science of weird materials
Innovative materials have changed the way we perceive jewelry. It’s not anymore made of yellow or white gold, diamonds are not just for engagement rings and natural mixology has brought to innovative materials that surprise us with great result.
Let’s check on a few examples:
- Fisherman’s Ring by Stefan Heuser: I absolutely love this ring; it’s gorgeous and sort of gross. You just have to know a bit of context before knowing what material is this ring made of. A few years ago, ivory started to be illegal to trade, white jade too expensive and white natural pearls rarer to find. Stefan Heuser got a weird idea but effective: The white part of the ring is made from breast milk, yeah you heard it right, that was turned into a powder and then combined with a special glue. The result is just as clean as jade and smooth like a drop of milf 😉
- Happy Family Mrs by Benjamin Lignel: “Think of it as an aesthetic band-aid,” Lignel invented the band-aid that can be worn, a gold-plated paper wrist bands that break the concept of wearing jewelry while still hurt ;0
- Blue Gold is not new but quite cheap compared to the price of it. It can cost as little as 25euros. It is made by creating an intermetallic compound between gold and indium, revealing a stunning blue depth to these gold-filled rings. Other colored gold has appeared in the market disrupting the silver industry with their competitive prices: Green, grey, purple, black gold and many more.
- This one is absolutely not everyone’s cup of tea, but a niche market could certainly appreciate designer Lucie Majerus’s answer to Ivory Ban in many countries around the world. The pieces of jewelry on the blue background above are made from Human Ivory. The Luxembourgian uses donated human teeth to make jewelry that is a close resemblance to pearls.
Il. The Blockchain is the future of traceability
Benefits: trace the origins, verify the authenticity of goods and that they originate from sustainable sources
Blockchain technology is coming to the jewelry industry, and it’s coming very fast! Ultimately, this means absolute traceability of every element in the jewelry supply chain. That’s what blockchain does: It tracks raw materials — like gold or diamonds — from the mine to the refiner (for metals) or gem cutter, through distributors and manufacturers, to the retailer, and on to the consumer. Only, instead of keeping a paper log, the raw material is assigned a serial number, and data is entered into the supplied log, or digital ledger, as it moves from place to place, throughout the material’s transformation. Blockchain systems cannot be edited and they are extremely secure, so the data that is entered for each step of the process is permanent. The technology will enable diamond suppliers (and intermediaries like border agents) to replace a paper certification process with a blockchain ledger. Shopper one day will be able to use a smartphone to determine a gem’s provenance.
Here are few of many companies applying blockchain in their supply chain tools:
- Everledger Diamond — a traceability initiative built on a blockchain-based platform for the diamond and jewelry industry. The aim is to engage all industry participants including manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to know a diamond’s story from the origin to the end customer.
- Trustchain — a blockchain created by IBM that proves the provenance of jewelry by following the supply chain from mine to store. It includes a consortium of companies involved in every step of the supply chain: Asahi Refining, the precious metals refiner; Helzberg Diamonds, a U.S. jewelry retailer; LeachGarner, a precious metals supplier and The Richline Group, a global jewelry manufacturer. It even includes some third-party verification with UL Labs for the skeptical among you.
- Tracr — an online distributed ledger based on blockchain created by DeBeers that improve global provenance in the diamond and jewelry supply chain. Did you know that 70% of the world diamond comes from DeBeers sites? So do you think that the investment was worth?
- Vitreus — a blockchain that builds innovative solutions in markets where provenance matters and where transparency is key to ensuring ethical trade. This new type of 10 record-keeping has been heralded as an efficiency that could transform industries like shipping, insurance, and finance. But the diamond business has been one of the first to embrace the technology wholeheartedly. While Vitreus right now is focused on diamonds, the possibilities are endless. You can add other luxury goods to the blockchain.
III. Smart jewelry
Wearable jewelry reinvents the world’s intimacy
Do you think smart jewelry will transform the market for jewelry and accessories in the years to come? well many new devices have emerged thinking they can.
- Talsam (Talsam is a stylish charm that lets its wearer receive personalized notifications, unlock private messages, and send SOS alerts)
- Motiv promises fitness tracking from the finger. It’s very smartly built to look appealing like jewelry.
- The Artefact Group — in collaboration with Johanna Schoemaker and Jennifer Darmour — brought the locket into the 21st century by making it tech-connected. Hanging from a long chain is a semi-circle locket that can wirelessly link to the wearer’s family and friends via social network and SMS. Nevertheless, it still serves the purpose of the classic locket; having the pictures of your loved ones close to your heart. The only difference is that you can store more photos on this; increasing the number of precious memories you can carry around with you. As mentioned on their website, “Purple is designed to help us remember the important things in our lives”.
- How do you take an 18-karat-gold plated and pure rhodium piece of jewelry to the next level? Join forces with a killer fragrance. Jewels of L’Oeuvre Noire created a capsule collection of jewelry that was scented by Kilian fragrance (29 fragrances to choose from). Then there’s Saje Natural Wellness that brings sensorial wearing necklaces made of silver.
- Watches are old fashioned, it doesn’t matter if it is smart. Ritotwanted a watch that was fashionable and technically innovative: Make the human hand the touchscreen.
- Harvest Energy: Industrial designer Naomi Kizhner created a jewelry collection that takes kinetic energy produced by the body’s involuntary movements, such as blinking, and converts it into electricity. The idea would be a little invasive as it has to be embedded into the surface of the skin.
- This is another jewelry concept that incorporates projection into the design. Tactum 3D scans the user’s arm and then creates real-time modeling of wearable objects through manipulated light projections. Created by Digital research studio, Madlab, this customized jewelry used depth and motion sensors to create the light display on the wearer’s wrist no matter which way it moves.
- and many more.
Healthcare: care to wear
Fitness trackers devices have proven to help daily health monitoring. Companies such as Jawbone, Fitbit, and Misfit have proven to be beautifully designed gathering maximum data delivering a great result.
Check out many more… if interested.
B. Predictions: The store of the future
An experience rather than a purchase
Retailers and brands have tried and failed millions of time to create the perfect experience for customers to live. A seamless experience where customers are able to look at a product online, customize it then purchase it without being able to visit the store. Apps have revolutionized the way we shop: Coeur de gem have mixed fun with business, check it out.
Hey Siri, where can I buy a diamond ring for my wife?
Everyone knows Siri either by the products you can find him at, or either by the content it has access to. Chatbots are around for many years now, unfortunately not much in the jewelry business… Imagine a jewelry chatbot that can replace the first customer contact with the brand, that understands the brand’s value, knows every product that the company sells and probably knows the customer before he visits the website. This chat-buddy will answer all questions that customers may have both on all social media platforms and on their website. It can even have a voiceover that talks to you and assists you 24/7. He can even connect you to a specific internal designer if interested or give you a specific quotation for product customization. That chatbot would help millions decide what jewelry customers would like to buy. This will increase customers interaction with the brand without going to that specific store on Place Vendome for example. As a first contact with the customer, the chatbot can eliminate the client’s doubts or unnecessary emails exchanges. Imagine this library of knowledge on the tip of your phone. Cool no?
Hey Amazon, could you deliver my ring in 2 hours?
Amazon has revolutionized the way we shop online, delivering millions of products as fast as it is ready to be delivered, meaning same-day delivery. Why not hours delivery? Less than a commodity, ordering a ring online has not been easy these days. People trust the net less and less especially that delivery times for luxury items varies from 2 to 4 weeks. Imagine ordering a product in-store / online, customizing it to your liking and be delivered the next few hours at home. Buying a gift to someone would mean like buying a sandwich at a restaurant, quite easy. This means that a client can order a ring, receive it in the next few hours, try it at the comfort of their home and send it back if it is not like they like.
A service has been in place by Worthy, that offers customers to sell their rings in easy steps, by collecting the product from home.
Look at yourself, you look beautiful with this ring
Imagine you pass by a window of a store. The ring that catches your eye is visualized by projection on your hand directly. Cool right? Well, this does not exist yet something close, VR/AR, does exist. It consists of visualizing a model (take a ring for example) directly on your hand through your smartphone. How this helps you ask now?
- Pure marketing purposes: Every advertising campaign using enlarged reality articles will convey first class encounters to clients, just as the more profound learning of the item. In this way, superior brand awareness. In adornments, it’s about introduction and showcases. With AR you can make features, constrained just by your dream and spending plan, showing gems things through the shopping glass alongside additional data (estimate, weight, 4Cs, and so forth.). Individuals just need to point their telephones/cell phones onto the features. Another utilization is shop windows. Everyone gazes at shop windows and gets pulled in now and again. Intuitive store doorways grab individuals’ attention.
- Enhancing customer experiences: The scheme “try before buy” is a great fit for online shopping if paired with AR. Selling jewelry is about invoking desire and need, and nothing drives it like trying on jewelry. Augmented reality apps offer a chance to do it virtually at home or anywhere else. Take “Say yes” as the main example for that.
- Business efficiency: augmented reality boosts sales, that is evident. Apps are a common thing and AR attract interest, as simple as that. Purchases are just a few clicks away.
Let’s use all that data
Tech used to help change the product development process. Now, gathering data predicts which styles will resonate to which consumers and at what price points. It aim to better understand customers behavior, enhance the impact of promotional activity and optimize their product offering, as well as marketing, spend. Listening to customers more carefully could be put into immersive, personalized, and useful experiences. We revolutionized the way we get data smarter to make smarter production and purchase decisions.
What is your X Factor? That USP that makes a customer or competitor stop in their tracks and give your product their undivided attention. Jewelry, like any other industry, is a competitive landscape that battles for customer loyalty. While the materials may be similar, you still can stand out as a brand. You don’t necessarily have to re-invent the wheel per se, well not yet… You just have to be a little unique and ingenious on how you choose to stand out.