How Jewellers Are Reacting to the Covid-19 Pandemic
2020's pandemic saw the world come to a standstill. Through tough times and slower moments, we saw changes in not only the way socialise, but approach life, purchases and important decisions. So what does buying an engagement ring look like now? Here's our experience.
2020 presented challenges for people the world over. Whilst we’ve collectively faced tough times as families, businesses and communities, coronavirus has also brought people closer together than ever - of course, metaphorically rather than physically.. As the severity of the first lockdown lifted and Queensmith was able to reopen its workshop & showroom doors, we welcomed an influx of clients looking to settle down, pop the question and secure the future of their relationships.
So, what does buying an engagement ring during a pandemic look like? We explore how jewellers are responding to the Covid-19 crisis, how we’ve reshaped our operations to keep both our clients and staff safe, and why, in the midst of a pandemic, people are feeling more loved up than ever.
Is Hatton Garden Open During Coronavirus?
You may be wondering what a once-bustling retail scene may be looking like in today’s coronavirus climate; Hatton Garden is a little quieter than usual as offices in central London largely remain closed and fewer shoppers travel to the area, but we’re keeping busy! The retail response of both local and high-end luxury jewellers has been relatively consistent; the biggest concern is keeping clients connected, able to browse, and for us to deliver what is typically a highly personal service.
Whilst the onset of a strict lockdown forced the temporary closure of Hatton Garden in March 2020, the jewellery quarter slowly began to return to normality by mid June. Independent Hatton Garden jewellers like Queensmith work closely with other local businesses, such as suppliers from the precious metal and diamond industry. Seeing our friends and neighbours return to business as usual alongside us has been wonderful, but the area is undoubtedly quieter than years prior to 2020. Unable to rely on passing trade, jewellers like Queensmith are diversifying their offering, to stay connected and offer a quality service for every jewellery buyer - even when they’re unable to come into the showroom.
In spite of the tough times, we’ve welcomed a record number of new clients to the business - all the while maintaining social distancing and a strict hygiene protocol. Offering virtual appointments via Zoom alongside a delivery service has allowed us to work with those unable to reach the showroom, meanwhile the use of acrylic screens within our consultations rooms and strict cleaning schedule has created a safe in-store environment for both our clients and team members, whilst retaining our signature warm, welcoming atmosphere.
How Has Engagement Ring Buying Changed During the Pandemic?
With practices in place that now seem second nature, Queensmith operates a little differently to pre-pandemic times. Firstly, you’ll notice our store is now kitted out with acrylic screens on each consultation desk, with a small ‘window’ to pass through diamonds, gemstones and engagement ring samples. Hand sanitisers are located throughout the store, and whilst we have always adhered to a regular cleaning rota, this will be less covert than before! - You’re now likely to see our cleaning efforts in practice throughout the day.
While some are happy to take a hands-off approach, we know that touch is important to many of our clients, who we welcome to hold, inspect and try on rings. We deep clean each piece of jewellery or equipment we share with our clients following their consultation, to ensure it is clean and ready to be handled by someone else at a later time.
As the Telegraph reported, the jewellery and diamond industry is somewhat unique, and unlike clothing stores, will now largely be required to run by retail appointments. Queensmith operates strictly by appointment only, to ensure we can prepare for each client, and we stagger each arrival by 15 minutes to allow for social distancing. It’s not uncommon for jewellery consultations to be arranged by appointment, and in fact we have found this a useful way to ensure we can really tailor every appointment to the specific needs of the client, sourcing the best diamond and gemstone options for them prior to their visit.
Those less concerned with seeing diamonds and jewellery in the flesh are opting for online, virtual consultations. Couples isolating or partners working from home together may struggle to find a good excuse for secretly leaving the house - so why not pretend you’re in a work-related Zoom meeting whilst actually comparing diamonds and designing that dream ring? Recent Queensmith client, Tom, shared with us why he had no regrets about choosing a virtual appointment: “having the ability to have the meeting over video was amazing, the use of tech to get close ups of the diamonds was especially impressive, and being able to screen share design ideas gave me the sense of confidence in the modern, forward thinking company that Queensmith is.”
Are People Still Proposing During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
If your Instagram & Facebook newsfeed looks anything like ours, you may have noticed that a lot of people are popping the question during the coronavirus pandemic; what better way to spark some joy during an otherwise difficult time?
As the BBC reported, love did not feel like waiting for a whole host of besotted couples who found the lockdown experience particularly bonding. Working from home together, less time spent out with friends and learning to cope together has allowed couples to note and cherish spectacular qualities in each other. Whilst cancelled holidays and lost meals-out prevailed, some individuals were able to save up for an engagement ring in a shorter period of time than they may have anticipated; distant thoughts of proposals became an exciting and more immediate reality.
How Can I Buy an Engagement Ring During Coronavirus?
If anything, finding and creating an engagement ring is more straightforward than ever, despite the pandemic: jewellers like Queensmith have found ways to fit around and work with the limitations the pandemic presents. Offering a more flexible and personal service than ever has allowed us to work (figuratively) closely with a record number of engagement ring buyers and new clients. Find a jeweller who can operate in a way that suits you; whether you’re seeking a virtual appointment, or just need some reassurance that the store environment will be safe to visit, it’s important to look into the services your jeweller will offer.
With jewellers limiting numbers in the showroom at one time, be sure to plan ahead and book an appointment. Including as much detail as you can about what you’re after during your booking will ensure your dedicated consultant will be fully prepared. At Queensmith, we’ll ask for your rough budget, the diamond or gemstone shape you’re interested in, and whether you have an initial design in mind; our gemmologists will then source a selection of centre stones that best suit your search - with the best aesthetics and value for money at the forefront of each selection.
A Message From Queensmith..
Positivity and support will get us through this difficult time - so stay safe, look after each other. Explore some of our blogs for uplifting proposal stories and lifestyle news.