Larry Schaffer, Gembridge’s recently appointed Regional Sales Director, Americas, tells Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough about key trends identified at JCK Las Vegas this month, and discusses his progress and priorities in developing partnerships for Gembridge, a digital gemstone and jewelry marketplace.
Larry, what were your main objectives in attending JCK for Gembridge, and what were the key takeaways?
My objectives were to meet many existing clients of Gembridge; have in-depth discussions with our Ambassadors attending the show; dialogue with new gemstone suppliers and discuss potential collaborations with retailers, manufacturers and online platforms.
Miriam Mimo Kamau, Gembridge’s Africa Ambassador, attended JCK Las Vegas
My takeaways were that better quality colored gemstones were holding strong, and there was a lot of interest in green gemstones and bright colors in semi-precious materials.
The trends seen at the show were the growing Men’s category; lab-grown diamonds continued to surge; more sterling silver collections were displayed due to high gold prices; and there were continued discussions about defining Sustainability and Responsibly Sourced Materials.
Le Vian 2023 trends presentation at JCK Las Vegas
What can you tell us about your meeting with Chinastone, picked up by Gembridge social media, and how do you foresee that relationship developing?
Our dialogue with Chinastone (a leading global manufacturer of high-precision cut natural gemstones) continues to evolve and the structure will be further clarified in the coming weeks.
Gembridge’s Larry Schaffer, meeting with Mr Li Chongjie, founder of Chinastone, at JCK Las Vegas
We plan to have a transparent relationship to create a mutually beneficial partnership to service the design community.
What is the appetite in the U.S. market for digitalized trading in gemstones and jewellery, and how do you see this market evolving in future?
I see the consumer appetite for digitalized trading continuing to grow and follow the strong gemstone and jewelry sales on Etsy and Instagram.
The desire for Customization and Personalization continues to drive expansion for the digitalized jewelry and fashion segments.
What types of new partnerships will you be developing for Gembridge and did your attendance at JCK help in this?
More partnerships will develop with luxury retailers and manufacturers who would welcome working with Gembridge for specific inventories. There were initial discussions at JCK which will continue after the show.
Finally, in your new role, what will be your priorities in the Americas and how will you be reaching out to build relationships in Asia?
My priorities will be to continue to bring quality and unique gemstones to our platform which will appeal to the Asian marketplace.
There are a few other exciting projects being developed which will be shared in the coming months.