Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Sally Ryder, CEO and Founder of RYDER Diamonds about the evolution of jewellery market and her views on synthetic diamonds.
Watch the video and learn the story behind the diamond brand, RYDER Diamonds.
RiA: How has the diamond jewellery industry evolved over the past ten years?
Sally: The jewellery industry has gone through significant changes in recent decades, with fewer talented artisans working and rare skills dying out. With the integration of modern machinery in the design process, many studios have lost the sought-after technical and artistic qualities that elevated jewellery making into a true art form.
At RYDER Diamonds, we seek to move away from 21st century technology and preserve this unique form of craftsmanship by retaining Hong Kong’s most highly skilled jewellery artisans. This gives our brand the rare distinction of being the only jewellery atelier in Hong Kong to have its own in-house workshop, where clients can experience first-hand their pieces being made by a master jeweller. By honouring the artisanal craftsmanship of jewellery, I believe RYDER Diamonds has carved itself a niche in the Hong Kong jewellery market that no other boutique can fill.
RiA: How did Covid-19 impact the diamond jewellery business?
Sally: We have been very fortunate that we have a steady and loyal clientele. We have not seen a decrease in sales, but rather an increase in discretionary income which has been saved and spent on luxury items. We have launched new ways to communicate with our consumers online in a way that matches our in-person bespoke experience via Instagram Stories as well as eDMs, which have both proved to be extremely beneficial and valuable to the growth of our business.
We recently hosted our Christmas Sales via Instagram Stories, and there was an overwhelmingly positive response towards this approach, and something we will continue for the foreseeable future.
RiA: We have seen a few jewellery brands launching synthetic diamonds, do you think they are appealing to all customers or more suitable for younger generations?
Sally: In my opinion, CVD and synthetic diamond jewellery are most suited for costume jewellery. There are some that prefer these as they are used for the purpose of fashion and tied to trends. However, those that are looking to make purchases that stand the test of time, and can be passed on from generation to generation, are very likely to pursue purchasing real diamond fine jewellery versus synthetic. Not all that glitters is precious!
RiA: As Ryder is well-known for Bespoke pieces, have you seen any specific trends coming up in the past years?
Sally: At RYDER Diamonds, we do not necessarily subscribe to trends, but rather in classic designs that are forever. We truly believe creating one-of-a-kind pieces that speak true to the moments they represent and people that they are for. With that being said, we do carry a ready-to-wear line, and each of these pieces represent simplicity and elegance.
RiA: Following up on the previous question, in the diamond industry, do you see customers preferring branded creation or moving into more unique handcrafted pieces?
Sally: There are several kinds of jewellery consumers, and they range from brand conscious to artistic appreciation. I believe that there was a period of time where consumers were valuing the ‘brand name’ over craftsmanship, but more and more, I see that individuals are returning back to the importance of bespoke, experience and storytelling which is something that we specialise in at RYDER.
RiA: Uniqueness of diamonds and digital, how is the dichotomy evolving?
Sally: Over the years, the diamond industry has come to rely on the digital world to communicate itself, from its specifications to its intangible value. Today, diamonds can be viewed online in a more efficient manner than ever before through tools such as Vision 360 or Diacam. When I purchase diamonds on behalf of my clients, it is imperative that I look at the actual stones more so than the certificates they come with, and often times these diamonds are not in Hong Kong. Therefore, these digital tools make our industry transparent and effective.
I host a monthly complimentary Masterclass (both online and in the showroom) that educates and empowers individuals and clients on understanding the diamond buying process. Buying a diamond can be complicated, confusing and various platforms can be misleading. Our innovative approach to education is something we take pride in at RYDER Diamonds, as we believe that individuals who are looking to purchase a piece of diamond jewellery should have an understanding of diamonds. We leverage tools such as Zoom for online learning to ensure that individuals are better informed about smart diamond buying, and to trust valuable resources to obtain quality, ethically sourced diamonds that fit their budget.
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On the other hand, we are able to truly grasp the incomparable and intangible value derived from a diamond through a photographic moment on social media. We as a brand are also able to showcase our pieces to our clientele around the world, and build relationships with them in a manner that represents our brand, through social media.