The jewelry history and present status has an interesting, intriguing as well as a fascinating set of facts and accounts. Jewelry styles and fashions have been reflected in different eras in which they have been worn and have depicted newsworthy events for the various times in history all the way to the present. Jewelries are part of the accessory industry including rings, earrings, necklaces, brooches and watches among others in an endless list of varied pieces sought after and adorned by individuals. They have been used from many centuries back to date and their uses vary with different cultures, religions and social and economic classes.
The jewelry industry is essentially composed of companies who create, etch, chase, or engrave jewelry. Jewelry products are created with either precious metal clad jewelries or precious metal solids and can be done with or without the use of stones. Metals combined with a variety of different gemstones have been a common material for jewelries. However, other materials like plant materials, precious metals, corals, beads, amber, enamel, and shells have also been used (Moss, 30). According to the original traditions, jewelries are not branded and most of the primary procedures usually entail molding, polishing, casting, finishing, and plating. Jewelries are often split into three varied classifications; these include the bridal jewelry like engagement, wedding and anniversary rings, miscellaneous giftware and fashion jewelry which include pieces like necklaces, earrings, rings, pins, gold chains and bracelets and watches as well as other silverware. According to a research done by KPMG on the global jewelry consumption, loose diamonds and diamond jewelry are most responsible for a majority of jewelry store sales at 45%. There are however other significant jewelry products with fairly good sales like watches at 13%, gold at 10% and other colored gemstones like sapphires, rubies and emeralds at 8%, platinum and silver jewelry as well as a host of other metals, gemstones and pearls like ammolite, angelite, aquamarine and azurite just to mention a few also have notable sales (180). The demand for jewelry products is usually dependent upon the consumer income together with the global cost of silver and gold. Large jeweler businesses are however often capable of offering larger lines of products that easily meet the needs and wants of different customers and are also usually able to be effective and efficient in the production and distribution operations. Smaller jewelry companies on the other hand are also able to continue to keeping a hold of the market especially because of the non-essentiality of jewelry costs in the retail markets. These smaller companies similarly offer unique pieces and lines that individualize their customers and hence create demand. Efficient operations and cost controls is what determines the market and revenue trajectory of the individual jewelry companies (181). The general profitability of any type of jewelry business often depends on the overall effectiveness of the marketing and merchandising strategies.
The jewelry industry in the United States is divided and fragmented; the 50 largest companies generate massive revenues of almost 40%. Most of the jewelry is not only sold by specialized retailers, but also by mass merchants and department stores. Often because of the very high regular gross margins of 50% in most instances, mass merchants are usually able to cut the prices and take the market shares. Macy’s and Wal-Mart are often among the largest retailers in the United States (180).
In most of the cultures, jewelries have been understood as status symbols especially for their material properties and meaningful symbols. The patterns for wearing the different jewelries have varied between sexes, age and classes (McCrieght, 43). Jewelry has been used in many instances and cultures to denote status. In the ancient Rome, for example, only certain individuals in various ranks were allowed to wear rings. There were also sumptuary laws that dictated the type of jewelry to be worn by different individuals based on their societal ranks. Cultural dictates have however similarly played significant roles in determining the use of jewelry, western men who wore earrings for instance were considered effeminate in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The display of jewelry and piercings has more recently become a mark of acceptance and an indication of courage within most societal groups but completely rejected in some. The hip-hop culture has also popularized the term bling- bling, which is a slang term to refer to the display of jewelry by both men and women.
In the early 20th century, the jewelry industry launched a campaign that was meant to popularize the concept of wedding rings and engagement rings for men. However, this was not well received, as it did not go far due to the creation of a false history of the practice being medieval. This however also created awareness and by mid-1940s, almost 85% of all of the weddings in the United States featured the use of double-rings from the 15% back in the 1920s. Religion has instinctively also played a role in the jewelry industry. In Islam for instance, men who wear gold are considered a social taboo. Many other different religions have laws that forbid the wearing and display of excessive jewelries. In the Christian religion, the New Testament warns against the wearing of gold in the books by apostles Paul and Peter. Gold is instead associated with whores and evil men and women. Jewelries have generally been used for a variety of reasons depending on needs and values of societies. Some have been used as artistic displays, store of value, to signify social, and personal status like wedding rings for instance, others have been used as forms of protections like amulets and for functional uses like fixing of clothes and hairs like brooches as well as to tell time in the case of jewelries like watches apart from their decorative aspects. Culturally, jewelries have been used to store large amounts of wealth, pay dowries and even for trading purposes. Jewelry has also been used for symbolic purposes as in the case of the Christian Crucifix to symbolize group membership and wedding rings to symbolize marriages (McCrieght 42).
There are a wide variety of jewelry manufacturers and designers from different countries. Pierre Cardin watches for instance are considered as precious and timely. The Pierre Cardin watches are known to be cosmopolitan, elegant, classic, and linked with socialites and concepts of trade. Prices of the watches range from those that are affordable to the extremely expensive ones depending on their constituents and the numbers made (McCrieght 43). The Capri Jewelry Inc. is a manufacturing company for jewelries that provide the best-certified diamonds as well as high quality services for their customers. Based in The Los Angeles Business District, the company offers one of the best quality jewelry gifts with custom-made earrings, engagement rings, wedding rings, and pendants that are meaningful yet unique. The company boasts of a large client base with famous media socialites streaming into the stores (Tait, 26).
There are numerous other famous Jewelry designers like Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Georg Jensen, Mikimoto Kokichi, David Yurman, Charles Garnier, Guy Harvey, Laura Gibson, Michael Kors, Marco Bicego, Le Vian, Roberto Coin, Scott Kay and Robert Lee Morris who have designed some of the most exotic and exquisite pieces that are being worn by a large number of people including famous personalities. Some other jewelry companies include Swarovski, Slane, Triton, Tacori, Simmons Jewelry, The Fifth Season, Rebecca, Pandora, Kabana, Ippolita, Honora, and Forevermark amongst other big names (Tait, 28).
When it comes to Jewelry pricing, there are wide ranges of prices. Prices usually depend on factors like overhead costs, labor costs, wholesale versus retail, pricing formulas and variables. Handcrafted jewelries go for lower and much affordable prices like 30$ and 12$ as compared to jewelries made from genuine and original gold, diamonds, silvers and other precious gems and stones. The prices for jewelries pieces with genuine gold, silver and diamond to name a few of the precious stones range from affordable prices like 70$ to extremely expensive deals like $5000 to $20000 and higher. An 18k Gold piece necklace or bracelet can go for $5000 and a diamond ring with a 14k Rose gold sells at $1800. Bracelets, necklaces, pendants and earrings by Pandora are usually available at approximately 28$ with higher or lower prices depending on design and quantity and quality of material used. Beaded necklaces and earrings by Ralph Lauren can be bought at lower prices like 38$. The Blue Nile Company is famous for exquisite pieces of rings, necklaces and studs made from different precious stone with a wide range of price list from $800 to $2000 (Tait, 28).
Prices for Gold Jewelry also vary from a number of different factors. Gold jewelry can be made into many different shapes with shapes that can fit varied body frames. They include rings, brooches, dental scraps, earrings, necklaces, watches, and others combined with diamonds and other gemstones. The purity level of the Gold pieces determines their karats and prices. Most of the common gold karats are 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 18, 22 and 24 karats. The weight of the gold is also a significant factor in determining their prices as it symbolizes their value. Gold prices are usually constantly increasing and are measured according to troy ounces whereby 1 Troy ounce equals, 31.1 grams.
Jewelries are sold through a number of different avenues. They are often sold either in jewelry stores or online. There is a balance between the two as well as other avenues. There are many online jewelry buyers who acquire their pieces through the online marketing avenue. Offline stores are observed to be much more expensive to set up as compared to the online counterparts that do not have to meet other overhead needs, a situation that is pushing the jewelry seller to the online platform where they meet with their buyers on the internet. Buyers are therefore often advised to consider the reviews before making any transactions for purchases due to the high competition. This is to make sure that professionalism is considered. Currently most of the jewelries designers and stores are a part of one of the greatest marketing time. Before the growth of the social networking sites, it was quite difficult for small jewelry store businesses to advertise their products, network, and reach out for the market. Today, the jewelry business has taken advantage of all avenues to stay on top and ensure they put out the best material and content. Most of the stores have a number of different accounts in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, My Space, Instagram, and Google Plus among others. The online marketing strategy is very convenient and sellers are expected to be creative in their advertisements and marketing strategies, especially since their charges are often free (Moss, 30). In the online platform, jewelries sellers give informative descriptions like the dimensions of their work and materials used amongst others to assist potential customers with their purchases.
Since most people love to have their jewelries uniquely designed and customized some sellers decide not to rely entirely on their websites and direct customer interaction as a strategy to market their jewelry, instead they make the environment and atmosphere easy for the retailers to make the sales. Most of the sellers develop an attractive display, which they use to convey their story and highlight their quality products. The retailers subsequently sell an order form or a packet that connects the seller directly to their buyers. Although the jewelry sellers need to split their margins with the retailers, they are able to gain so much exposure while the retailer similarly makes good profit from the brokering (Moss, 32). Marketing is generally an important part of the jewelry business and most of the sellers are always trying out new things. The internet has enabled Jewelry sellers to connect with their customers’ base as though they are in a virtual jewelry Store.
According to a broad study that was carried out by the KPMG in 2007, the largest jewelry market was found to be the United States (180). The US has a market share of 30.8% and China, India, The Middle East and Japan having 8-9% and Italy 5%. However, the predictions from the authors of the study projected a dramatic change in the jewelry market with the advent of the year 2015. The prediction expects a drop to around 25% by the US whereby India and China will record increases in their market shares to over 135. The Middle East is expected to remain at its constant of approximately 9%. The market shares in Japan and Europe on the other hand are expected to be halved and will become less than 45 in Japan and less than 3% for the big individual countries in Europe like Italy and the United Kingdom.
There are different requirements that are needed for the importing of different jewelries like diamonds, stones, rubies, pearls, sapphires, jades, and emeralds among others. The commercial import of jewelries, diamonds, pearls, semi-precious and precious stones that are valued at $2,500 and more usually need a formal entry. Guidelines for formal entries in The United States are usually stated in the publication titled, “Importing into the United States”. Importing the jewelries for commercial purposes does not require a license but a customs bond CBP for 301 is often needed for all the formal entries. These bonds are usually obtained from surety companies. Their lists are usually available on the website of the Treasury (Moss, 31). Jewelries sellers are often advised to consider hiring the services of a Customs Broker from a list in the ports page who file the entries for the dealers. These are gained depending on different states and cities and custom brokers. There are numerous influential laws that govern the Jewelry Merchandise Business. The Patriot Act for instance, has an established list of requirements for the different dealers in precious metals and gems. The Financial Center on the other hand is an agency that is responsible for the development of regulations that concern the compliance and registration programs. The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has a website that often has important information concerning the marketing regulations for jewelries, it is a private organization.
Individual imports of the Jewelries however are usually informally cleared and seldom require a customs bond. However, in instances when the jewelries were purchased when abroad, individuals are usually advised to ensure they have cleared with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the CBP Form 6059B. Imports of pearls, diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires that are from countries with a normal trade relation status are often duty-free only when they are confirmed to not be permanently strung, mounted or set. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) in chapter 71 has additional duty rates for the different jewelry items. These items are often classified as jewelry when they are mounted or set on metals and are hence subject to duty (Georges et al., 506). The same chapter 71 has the rates for the jewelries. Jewelries made with diamonds need a Kimberley Certificate. However there are tough and stringent rules and regulations that authorize sanctions on diamonds that are imported from countries like Liberia, Angola and Sierra Leone amongst others with the Kimberley Process Website and Kimberley Certificate Scheme having any latest lists of countries. The Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Website as well as the World Diamond Countries and the Essential Guide to Implementing the Kimberley Process have additional information on the different sanctions against the listed countries (Georges et al., 506). According to the Jade Act of 2008 precious metals like the ruby stones or Jadeite that are extracted or mined from Burma should not be imported into the United States Government. It is also called the Enforcement of the Burmese JADE Act. Individual who have interests in importing rubies or Jadeite for either commercial or personal use should prove against any connection of manufacturing or extraction from Burma. The jewelry business generally has a strategized marketing plan, rules, regulations and procedures that often bind the businessmen and women in the industry. This ensures that there are no illegal transactions particularly due to the economic significance of jewelries used (Georges et al., 506).
It is therefore evident that jewelries have significantly affected the growth of the economy particularly due to their demand and significance even in the modern day cultures and civilizations. The exploitation of the jewelry market is consequently expected to exhibit a continual growth over the years with global markets experiencing shifts and changes within their consumer bases. The rich history of the jewelry industry has therefore undoubtedly played a critical role in determining the current trajectory of the jewelry industry.
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