Mexican Jewelry Industry Strong Despite Mighty WindsBy Andrea Villar | Mon, 08/16/2021 - 05:00
Q: As the economy rebounds and social events encourage jewelry purchases, what measures is the industry taking to accelerate its recovery?
A: There is an area of opportunity for us now that social events are making a comeback. Jewelry has always been present at christenings, graduations and other celebrations. Now that they are starting to take place, there is obviously a new drive toward the purchase of these products. Jewelry remains a gift for life and it has a different meaning for each person. At the Chamber of Jewelry, we are resuming the exhibitions that were put on hold for more than a year because of the pandemic. These events are very important for us because they generate up to 70 percent of our members’ annual sales.
With this business network missing for so long, many companies had to look for alternative ways to market their products. This is how we started to promote online sales. Although we did not start with high-end e-commerce, we used digital platforms to deliver effective and remote communication with customers to close the sale and for home deliveries. Today, we are developing a platform that meets all the needs of the market. Buying jewelry is no longer a trend among only some groups or generations; it now follows the personal desire of each person. We offer gold, silver or alloy pieces.
Jalisco manufactures 70 percent of Mexico’s jewelry. The state is a national leader in the production and marketing of jewelry, accounting for up to 70,000 jobs in the sector. Annually, we produce 20 tons of gold and 80 tons of silver. We believe that Jalisco is the national benchmark in this sector. In Guadalajara alone, we have 15 jewelry centers with 1,500 points of sale. When the pandemic started, we were concerned about how much the industry would be affected. Fortunately, the jewelry industry grew 2 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. We did not reach the target of 4 percent but it was significant growth, all things considered.
Q: What are the industry's concerns besides those related to the pandemic?
A: The pandemic has definitely been one of our greatest concerns. At the moment, we are analyzing the impact of the third wave of infections and the variants of the virus. We continue to follow all safety and health protocols in our jewelry centers. The next exhibition of the Chamber of Jewelry will take place in October in Guadalajara and we are covering all possible scenarios to be able to carry it out safely. We do not believe that it will be canceled. We will also hold the first National Jewelers Congress in October.
Another challenge is the launch of an online platform called Capital Joya, a space where gold or silver producers and jewelry manufacturers will be able to get in touch. In August we will kick off the launch of the platform.
Q: What programs do you currently have in place to promote Mexican jewelry abroad?
A: We participate in international exhibitions to position Mexican jewelers. For instance, in August the JCK expo takes place in Las Vegas and the Chamber of Jewelry is the leader in the Mexican jewelry pavilion. We group 10 manufacturing companies to position the Mexican brand there and distinguish ourselves internationally. We are also waiting for the opening of the exhibition markets in Italy and Hong Kong. We also have an international pavilion at exhibitions in Mexico to make room for jewelry from other countries.
Q: What kind of jewelry is most in demand abroad?
A: The demand for jewelry abroad depends on the market. However, in cities like Dubai, a rule of thumb is a very high caratage, which means a minimum of 18K or 22K. For these places, we manufacture on demand. In countries like the US, where there are many Mexicans, jewelry with religious motifs and Mexican identity is very popular.
Q: What measures does the chamber have in place to promote the sustainable growth of the jewelry industry in Jalisco and the country?
A: We are looking for suppliers that guarantee sustainability throughout the supply chain. One project we have at the moment is with Minera Peñoles, in which we are looking for manufacturers to work together and achieve this objective. As an institution, what we do is to recognize companies that are socially responsible in the exhibitions where we participate. By the end of 2021, we aim for our network to buy at least 50kg of gold per month from Peñoles.
Jalisco Chamber of Jewelry, founded 50 years ago, represents the interests of the jewelry industry nationally and internationally. To date, it has more than 1,000 members in Mexico.