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The modern world is plagued by superficial analysis, and the jewellery industry is the latest in a long line of victims. | Source: Freepik
The modern world is plagued by superficial analysis, and the jewellery industry is the latest in a long line of victims. | Source: Freepik

Your escape from a world dominated by the superficial

The jewellery industry is under siege. SAMUEL ORD discusses the importance of deeper examination in an increasingly superficial culture.

The modern world is plagued by superficial analysis, and the jewellery industry is the latest in a long line of victims.

What do I mean when I say ‘superficial analysis’? It is shallow and short-term thinking that excludes any consideration of the complexities of life and the depths of human experience.

Worse, all too often it’s unquestioning, and ‘facts’ go unchallenged.

We all know the pitfalls of superficial analysis – we learn them as children.  We are taught never to judge a book by its cover. We shouldn’t let first impressions colour our perception of people.

We are also taught that personal relationships are to be valued over material possessions and that we shouldn’t exchange long-term success for immediate gratification.

Most people would readily concede that these are virtues worth living by, yet life in the ‘Information Age’ strikes a remarkable contrast to this timeless wisdom.

Information overload has become a serious issue – people experience difficulty understanding complex issues and making effective decisions because they have too many factors to consider.

"We all know the pitfalls of superficial analysis – we learn them as children. We are taught never to judge a book by its cover. We shouldn’t let first impressions colour our perception of people."

The tools made possible by the internet and social media were once heralded for their ability to improve lives in advanced societies greatly; however, in many ways, it’s led to unfulfillment and indignity.

With smartphones and computers, we have access to a never-ending treasure trove at our fingertips every day; however, the ability to deeply analyse and capitalise on this information is amputated and replaced by disposable posts on social media defined by character limits and addictive looping clips.

This is where the jewellery industry suffers. The addiction to bite-sized information leads to consumers with rapidly evolving tastes and preferences – and retailers are struggling to keep up.

In a global economy, retailers have never had more jewellery collections and pieces to offer customers; however, even if the perfect decision is made, chances are tastes have changed by the time the collection reaches the store.

This reliance on immediate gratification also means consumers have never been more impatient.

Bespoke and custom-made jewellery has never been more popular – which is great news for traditional jewellers – however, with a skills shortage and a lack of available bench jewellers, it takes time to create these pieces – which can sometimes fly-in-the-face of the ‘want it now generation’.

Indeed, it would seem to be a great hypocrisy that consumers desire timeless jewellery that provides profound emotional and sentimental importance – and it must be produced immediately.

Who is to blame?

While everyone must take personal accountability for how they think and act, it’s difficult not to blame the media for perpetuating this attitude.

Wherever you look today, much of contemporary media - especially ‘social media’ -  is dominated by superficial analysis designed to provoke an immediate emotional reaction from the reader that is forgotten by the next day.

For most ‘movie critics’, the latest film is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Little consideration is ever given to the broader context of the film itself – did it build upon previous works? Was there a breakout performance for an actor, or did the director showcase any newfound technical prowess?

"We are also taught that personal relationships are to be valued over material possessions and that we shouldn’t exchange long-term success for immediate gratification."

It’s a similar story in music. Artists always build on previous works – did the band incorporate new sounds or pay tribute to influences? Don’t get me started on the lowest of all criticisms in art – “it didn’t sell.”

Regarding superficial analysis, the sports media is the biggest perpetrator. Any team that doesn’t win the trophy, cup, or title is a failure. Only one team can win it all every year – yet this overbearing reality is always ignored in favour of the latest ‘hot take’.

The jewellery industry is not exempt from this kind of thinking. Industry media has a tendency to accept whatever is said by public relations staff without question.

Press releases are repeated word-for-word and presented to readers as ‘news’ without any attempt to paint a more vivid picture of the announcement or event.

Every business and brand is taken at their word – whatever happened to  ‘trust but verify’?

What’s the solution?

This issue has no easy solution because technological advances cannot be reversed. The ‘addiction to distraction’ is not going away anytime soon.

With that said, there’s nothing to stop us from practising ‘deep work’ while the rest of the world dwells on shallow analysis.

This year should be defined by your willingness to ask the questions no one else is willing to ask. Abandon the obsession with multi-tasking and the fear of boredom. Don’t take numbers at face value – ask why they are the way they are by weighing every complexity.

With that said, this will be a year of ‘deep work’ for Jeweller. Namely, it’s time to take the information uncovered in the 2024 State of the Industry Report (SOIR) and repeatedly ask the all-important question – why?

While the SOIR's reception has been terrific – and the feedback gratefully accepted – as promised, it raised more questions than answers.

Over the coming months, Jeweller will publish a series of addendums addressing topics and issues raised by the report that couldn’t be thoroughly explored because of size and time limitations.

The SOIR provided the latest ‘numbers’ for many important industry sectors – detailing the unexpected decline of independent retailers in Queensland, the collapse of the Jewellers Association of Australia, and the rise of ‘online showrooms’ as examples.

And there is more – much, much more.

Documenting these occurrences was just the beginning – now, the time has come to ask the harder questions. Very little goes unchallenged and unquestioned by this publication.

This work will transform the SOIR from important to invaluable and provide the tools to understand today’s economic climate and prepare for the decade ahead. 

More reading:
What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word, would smell as sweet.
We cannot direct the wind - but we can adjust the sails
Gratitude is an attitude – so don’t forget to say thanks
Don’t wait for the storm to pass,  learn to dance in the rain
When the window of opportunity opens,  don’t pull down the shade
One part water, one part soil and sharp scissors

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samuel Ord

Samuel Ord is a Jeweller journalist covering day-to-day industry news and investigative long-form features. He has over seven years experience as a court reporter and sports journalist.

SAMS Group Australia
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