The industry has done a good job of holding steady and ending a decade of contraction this year. The hallmarking figures graph ‘bottomed-out’ showing modest but definite increases in almost every month of the last 12.
If you take the year-to-date from the latest figures available, we are only down by the smallest margin in terms of overall precious metal items marked. With a bumper Christmas – and one hopes that improving consumer confidence will give us that leg-up – we may see the full-year growth figures move into positive territory for the first time in many years.
But aside from the gradual restoration of the wider economy, what has arrested the decline? I have noticed, in my more than two years thus far as editor of Jewellery Focus, a marked uptick in the creative stakes. Possibly most striking is the increasingly stylised and well-produced product shots being sent in by independent designers and large manufacturers alike; editorial spreads are adorned with professional photography of the sort which was hard for editors to get their hands on some years ago, and advertisers have upped their game with smarter artwork.
There is a real sense that the trade has begun embracing a school of marketing more familiar to the consumer advertiser: slick presentation and compelling back-stories.
Plenty of initiatives are afoot to bolster the jewellery industry’s regeneration in the UK: the Hatton Garden Business Improvement District (BID), increased apprenticeship places, the new premises for the Birmingham Assay Office to name a few. All of these things speak of confidence in the sector’s future prosperity.
There is plenty to feel optimistic about as we head into 2016, and with that I hope you have a very successful festive trading period, wish you a Merry Christmas, and we’ll see you next year.