Not only have sales of fine jewelry plummeted recently, it seems that those that have the bling don’t feel much like wearing it these days. The notable absence of pricey baubles and beads at some of the top recent events, of the ‘who’s who” in Miami, a city not noted for understatement. At the Fontainebleau’s gala opening, I can’t remember seeing many jewels, nor at the annual gala of the Miami Art Museum (MAM). Just two years ago Graff diamonds was a sponsor of the MAM gala, with a major display in showcases and models at the cocktail party, but no jeweler was to be seen this year, except as one of the regular guests.
The reason? Are recession-dampened spirits putting a kibosh on the glamour quotient, does it suddenly feel unseemly to flaunt wealth in a time when so many people are having difficulties? Or maybe costume jewelry is just more creative and fun? Cartier had its grandiose VIP Dome at Art Basel, complete with serious, and I mean very serious, estate and vintage jewelry. There didn’t seem to be many buyers though, most coming to see the David Lynch video. It all seems like a wakeup call for the fine jewelry industry.