Sebastien Denton, CEO- Adamas: “There is a general transition going on in the overall worldwide luxury market”
Can you provide us with an overview of the current trend in the luxury jewellery market?
Currently there is a general transition going on in the overall worldwide luxury market, in all categories, compared to the post-covid boom period of half of 2021, and all of 2022.
There has been a general slow-down in the worldwide luxury goods market in general in 2023, especially during the past 6 months, with certain price ranges and product categories more affected than others.
For the specific luxury jewellery category, there has been an overall slow-down in the market worldwide, most apparent in specific large markets like US, China, and Europe, where most specifically the diamond jewellery category has been the most affected, with sales of this category dropping more than other categories, such as pure/plain gold jewellery with no stones, or semi-precious and coloured stone jewellery set on gold or other metals.
However, there has been an exception to this general worldwide luxury jewellery market slow-down, and that has been related to very specific high-end global luxury jewellery brands, including those owned by the large global luxury groups LVMH, Kering, Richemont, as well as independantly owned and operated ones, that form part of the top 20 – 30 luxury jewellery brands worldwide.
These ultra-exclusive and high-end brands have in fact being doing better throughout 2023, despite already achieving record results in 2022, they have been able to continue growth and success, despite general slow-down in jewellery category as mentioned, and despite slow-down in other parts of the luxury goods category in general.
How would you describe the typical clientele for your luxury jewellery?
There is not one typical client for luxury jewellery, and jewellery in general, as it is product category that has many different roles in society and life, and so can be used for many different purposes, and can mean many different things to different people.
Jewellery is used for cermonial purposes related to wedding/marriage, or other religious ceremonies, where it signifies important occasions and milestones in one’s personal relationships, one’s lifetime, and religious rites of passage and stages.
It is used often as a treasured gift and object that reinforces emotional bonds and commitments to partners, family members, and friends throughout their lifetimes, to mark special occasions for loved ones, such as graduating from educational institutions, arriving at a certain age or significant birthdays, achieving a new life commitment such as childbirth, new career promotions, retirement, or other occasions that are best marked by a gift and object that will last for many years, and is precious and valuable, and so best matching these precious life moments.
Jewellery can also be something fun, playful, and fashionable, which creates joy and value for the wearer by virtue its design, colours, and ability to match their style, ensemble, personality, or feeling of the moment, and helping them create a magical and memorable moment, and new treasured memory.
In this more trend and fashion focused role, jewellery also can play this every day value role, where newfound appreciation can be found with using a precious piece in new ways, and mixing, matching, and enjoying the moment.
In the end, jewellery is for everyone, and everyone can find a moment and occasion to enjoy and wear Jewellery, and it has been part of human culture and society for thousands of years, as it is timeless, eternal, and intertwined with human emotion, feelings, and memory.
What characteristics set your luxury jewellery pieces apart from others in the market?
In the Mauritius market, Adamas distinguishes itself by having the largest variety of models and stock on the island, as well as having in-house manufacturing capacity, in-house developed collections, and introduction of new collections multiple times each year, allowing for the latest worldwide trends to be incorporated into our collections and stock of items in our boutiques.
We are offering the full range of all fine jewellery categories, as well as luxury jewellery brands like Pomellato, FRED, Montblanc, and a full range of luxury Swiss watches and other watches, all under one roof.
Relative to the global market, Adamas distinguishes itself from retailers in South Africa, France, UK, Germany, Italy, Europe in general, retailers in Dubai, and those in Asia and Australia also, by having in more completive price advantage, as we are sourcing at a global level, not only from a national or regional wholesaler/distributor, so we are able to find and secure the best quality and value items from the full global marketplace, and we are able to offer tourist visitors, and all local departure visitors, ether VAT refund or VAT free delivery at airport, which is open to Mauritians also.
We also offer a larger variety of styles and options and categories, under one roof, than usually any other typical jewellery boutique or retailer in the aforementioned international markets would offer, due to our wanting to satisfy the maximum variety of clients and different design tastes in one location, and to be able to provide items to tourists clients with immediate availability, as they stay only 8 – 12 days in Mauritius usually, so our local clients also benefit from the large stock available immediately.
How do you select the materials and gemstones for your luxury creations?
At Adamas, regardless of what category of jewellery we are working on in our sourcing, selection and manufacturing process, we always try to ensure the best quality possible combined with best value for the given quality grade or category.
We make sure to offer a variety of different price ranges and quality aligned to each price, so that regardless of a client’s budget or idea when they come to visit Adamas for their jewellery needs, we will be sure to have a large variety of models and price ranges in any given category to hopefully satisfy their desires and find their dream and desired piece
Our focus is really on variety and broad range of options, with many classic and eternal designs, as well as certain one-off / unique pieces, and the ability to make to measure and source any given stone type or size that the client might request, through our international network of associates.
We do also spend a lot of time in our seasonal and collection planning to be sure to incorporate the current trends of the season, by incorporate the stone colors that are on trend worldwide at the moment, the gold or metal colours, and combination of different stones types or metal colours, so that we give clients the chance to review and appreciate from among our broader collection, the specific worldwide general trends in luxury fine jewellery
How has the demand for luxury jewellery evolved in recent years?
We have seen a change in type of designs, colours, and types of stones over these past years, where we saw specifically a few years ago at start of covid, clients opting for more classic and eternal designs, less colourful and more simple models. There also was more of a focus on larger / visible earrings, large and visible bracelets and bangles during that initial covid period, and less focus on rings, necklaces & chains.
The past 2 years since the ending of the Covid period, this has changed with a focus more on coloured stones, and brighter and colourful designs that stand out, with bracelets bangles still popular, but rings have come back strong as well as necklaces, larger statement type earrings are less popular than before.
We also have seen a big push the past year or so into more yellow gold items, instead of pink gold tones of the previous years, with white gold that was more popular several years ago still present, but more in classic designs, not in the more trend focused fashion designs of past year or two.
Large metal surfaces where you can really see the yellow or pink gold colour have become very trendy again, where the metal visiblity has become as important, or more important in some designs, then any of the precious stone’s visibility set in the piece.
What are the challenges and opportunities facing luxury jewelers today?
In today’s volatile global environment, the difficulty that the luxury jewellery industry is facing is directly related to large swings in the pricing of gold and diamonds, and other precious stones, that is making it very difficult to maintain consistent pricing for customers, and source items at a competitive price, and ensure jewelers are able to balance old and new stock pricing while remaining competitive for their clients.
Many of these price swings are also not necessarily consumer market driven, but purely driven by the financial markets, and are reactions to deteriorating global security, economic, and political situations, that create difficulties for the jewellery sector, where precious metals and precious stones are our raw material, even if they are treated as a financial instrument by the global financial and trading sectors.
In a global economic environment that has been deteriorating the past year, where clients spending capacity and tolerance is very low for these price increases due to these raw materials cost changes, this is affecting the sales potential and growth of many sectors of the jewellery industry, with mid and low range fine jewellery suffering in large mature markets like the US and Europe, where the consumer base is much larger, and jewellery items are treated as much more discretionary spending, and non-essential vs other goods and services.
The opportunities for our sector are more related to our product category position being part of the so-called ‘hard-luxury’ goods, so greater store of value and maintenance of value over time, as well as long-term durability and quality maintenance, and so seen as more of an investment and durable then other product categories in the luxury sector like clothing, accessories, shoes, etc. This makes jewellery more attractive for clients who are wanting to invest in something for the long-term, while still being able to enjoy a luxury product for today and their everyday lifestyle.
The other specific opportunity that has been doing well so far in 2023, regardless of the difficult global environment, has been the high-end range jewellery and haute joaillerie, where the customers of this price range of jewellery items seem to be more insulated from the global economic pressures, and are more able to tolerate the price increases due to raw materials increases, and are able to invest more funds in these top end items that are more rare, and so potentially have greater potential to keep their value overtime, as well as bestowing upon their owners a greater feeling of exclusivity and luxury by having something unique and rare.