The COVID Effect: The technological transformation
of the jewellery industry
May 8, 2020
There is widespread agreement that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a massive restructuring of the business environment, driven as much by the wide-scale use of new technologies as it is by economic forces. Clearly, those companies that had already implemented online trading and digital management and marketing programmes were better equipped to deal with the lockdown that was implemented at the start of the crisis. And even now, as stores, offices and factories slowly reopen, the ongoing presence of the virus means that further disruptions are possible. Technology-driven coping mechanisms remain as relevant as ever.
It could well be that the most significant and enduring COVID Effect will be the technological transformation of the gem and jewellery industry, involving the extensive adoption by larger and smaller companies of systems that enable them to be operated remotely, and platforms that allow for goods to displayed, marketed and sold online. In essence, this has been a process that been taking place for some time already, but the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated it, turning it from an optional into an urgent requirement.
CIBJO’s “Jewellery Industry Voices” webinar series looked at the impact and implications of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis on the business from the perspective of industry figures. It examined how COVID-19 is transforming the jewellery and gemstone business technologically, and how in this respect it may become one of the most seminal events of the 21st Century.
Entitled “The COVID Effect: The Technological Transformation of the Jewellery Industry,” the third Jewellery Industry Voices webinar featured four leading industry experts – Stephane Fischler, Chair of the CIBJO Technology Committee and President of the World Diamond Council; David Block, President of Sarine Technologies, a research and development company that has pioneered and led technological progress in the industry; Mahiar Borhanjoo; CEO of UNI Diamonds, an operator of a groundbreaking online ecosystem that connects between vendors and buyers, securing the sale and safe delivery of polished diamonds anywhere on the globe; and Thomas BaIllod, founder of the Watch Trade Academy, a watch industry consultant who has long advocated for technology to disrupt traditional distribution models.
The webinar was co-moderated by Edward Johnson and Steven Benson, and Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President, welcomed the participants.