Tough Road Ahead In Post-Covid Era, CIBJO President Cautions At China Pearl Conference

The jewellery industry must navigate a changing landscape as it emerges from the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic, facing a reduction in strategic advantages and an economic slowdown in several regions, CIBJO President Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri revealed at the Global Pearl Development Conference held in the country’s pearl capital, Zhuji, on 21st May, 2023.

“The entire Covid period showcased the inherent resilience of the fine jewellery market, despite the immense pressures imposed by lockdowns and disruptions to supply chains worldwide,” stated Dr. Cavalieri. “While there was an initial decline in demand as consumers adjusted to the new normal, we witnessed a subsequent recovery, with sales often surpassing pre-crisis levels. In fact, in 2021, most indicators showed better results compared not only to 2020 but also to 2019, pre-pandemic.”

However, Dr. Cavalieri acknowledged that the industry’s advantages during the pandemic have diminished, further compounded by the eagerness of consumers to travel and experience the physical world after years of confinement. The CIBJO President added, “This coincides with an economic slowdown in many countries, and even in markets like China, where conditions are improving, we cannot expect a return to the double-digit growth rates seen in the past.”

Despite these challenges, Dr. Cavalieri emphasised his optimism about the future of the industry, highlighting its inherent strength and the human inclination to express emotions and appreciation through valuable and beautiful objects. “This fundamental aspect of our industry has remained unchanged for centuries,” he emphasised. “However, we must be aware of evolving consumer demands, which increasingly prioritise responsible sourcing and societal benefits. The value of jewellery extends beyond the tangible; integrity, both in the product and the supply chain, plays a crucial role.”

Dr. Cavalieri also emphasised the high market potential of cultured pearls, noting their sustainability from social and environmental perspectives. “Cultured pearls, when responsibly farmed in pristine environments, represent a jewellery category that is truly sustainable. This approach not only benefits the environment but also enhances the quality of the end product. It’s a win-win situation,” he explained.

During his visit to China, Dr. Cavalieri signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ye Zhibin, Chairman of the National Gemstone Testing Centre (NGTC) of China, and Bi Lijun, General Secretary and Vice President of the Gems and Jewellery Trade Association of China (GAC). The agreement solidified their commitment to cooperation, knowledge sharing, joint programs, and the adoption of international standards and nomenclature developed by CIBJO within China.

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