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The Latest Consumer Trend Is Very Bad News for the Jewelry Industry

Diamonds are losing their sparkle with millennial buyers — and the jewelry business is feeling it.

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Although retailers enjoyed a record $5 billion in sales on Black Friday 2017, there’s one thing people weren’t buying: Diamonds. Black Friday 2018 was the worst day for mall sales of diamonds in 25 years. Sigmet, the parent company that owns Zales, Kay and Jared stores, announced that its 2017 sales have been light and it will shed 125 stores in 2018.

Jewelers, from mom-and-pop stores to the malls, are reporting dismal sales and closures. In the third quarter of 2017 alone, 165 jewelry stores (from a total of 6,752 stores closings) closed, and more will close in 2018. At the low end, Charming Charlie, a mall-based store, has filed for bankruptcy. The teen jeweler Claire’s is heavily leveraged, with $2 billion in debt that will come due in 2019. But it’s not just costume jewelry that’s hurting. Diamonds are facing their own reckoning too.

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