The jewellery industry is having its moment. The global jewellery market is expected to reach US$480.5 billion by 2025, says California-based Grand View Research. The world’s top 100 luxury goods companies earned total revenue of US$247 billion in the 2017 financial year, up from US$217 billion in the previous cycle, according to the 2019 edition of Global Powers of Luxury Goods by Deloitte. A powerful engine behind this US$30 billion growth is the jewellery industry, which scored a 7 per cent increase. 10 of the most coveted luxury items of 2019 It outperformed the beauty and fashion sectors, such as handbags and apparel, which saw a 1 per cent drop in revenue, as shown in Bain & Company’s study on worldwide luxury goods sales in 2018. Switzerland-based Richemont – owner of Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chloé – recovered from a 3.9 per cent decline in 2017 and reversed it with 3.1 per cent growth in 2018. This recovery was ascribed to 9 per cent growth by its jewellery brands, which contributed a 58.9 per cent share of Richemont’s luxury sales. French luxury conglomerate LVMH owns high-fashion brands from Louis Vuitton to Dior, as well as jewellery and watch labels like Chaumet and Bulgari. Chanel, Dior and luxury watch maisons who are always full of surprises The success of its watch and jewellery divisions in 2018 – despite accounting for only 15.3 per cent of LVMH’s overall sales – was one of the key factors handing it the crown in the luxury market, and boosting its 17.2 per cent year-on-year sales growth from 2017. As fashion brands struggle to grow, what are the factors keeping these century-old fancy jewellers afloat? Jean-Marc Mansvelt, CEO of Chaumet, believes heritage brands have a tremendous advantage because in jewellery, longevity is crucial and brings value; investment in jewellery boosts returns for the next generation. “For us, with such a long history, Chaumet has an incredible patrimony of documents, creations and stories: there’s no need for storytelling per se,” he explains. LVMH is no stranger to renewing time-honoured names, such as Dior and Rimowa, and achieving commercial success. Compared to fashion brands, which often produce six to eight collections a year, jewellery brands are less prolific and their products are priced much higher (sometimes in the millions of dollars). From Van Cleef & Arpels to Graff: nature’s place in luxury jewellery In its recent collaborative exhibition “Autrement” with Swedish photographer Julia Hetta, showcased inside its boutique on Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, the brand explored novel ways of wearing jewellery and celebrated individuality. A peacock-feather brooch was worn as a head accessory, and the same applied to the diamond-encrusted Joséphine Aigrette Impériale tiara. Digital photographs were displayed in historical frames, relating the jewels and their historical culture to the modern world. “The necessity of staying relevant today forces us to invent new ways and use tools like digital [platforms] to show our long history of creativity and virtuosity,’’ Mansvelt says. With rich culture and stories in place, how can brands engage their modern-day customers. This is key to a brand’s strategy when the luxury industry’s core buyers are much younger, as millennials – and gradually Gen Z – become the mainstream? The new demographic is seeking a more personalised shopping experience and an individual relationship with the brands. Kering-owned jeweller Boucheron opted to offer something truly unique and personal in its newly renovated boutique at 26 Place Vendôme. The Paris landmark was built in 1717, and it’s an address that has housed the brand since 1893. Crafted in the style of a private residence to make customers feel at home, the refurbished building groundbreakingly features a VIP guest suite operated by The Ritz Paris. It is reserved for selected A-list guests who are invited to experience top-notch luxury. The key is to adapt our stories and express them in a contemporary way in order to touch the people of today Jean-Marc Mansvelt, CEO, Chaumet This new feature is a realisation of CEO Hélène Poulit-Duquesne’s vision of positioning clients at the centre of the business, and her new perspective on luxury. “Luxury today is time and experience; it’s something on your mind, not only on your wrist,” she explains. Boucheron was founded in 1858 in the French capital and its goods have historically been coveted by royals from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to Russian Prince Felix Youssoupoff and Tsar Alexander III. Today it woos a new cohort of royals – worldwide affluent millennials. A homelike maison experience seems not quite enough. “Customers switch between online and offline anytime. Eighty per cent of our customers, and 90 per cent of Chinese, do their research online before purchasing in the store, so we have to work omnichannel,” reveals Poulit-Duquesne. Before Tiffany – 6 brands LVMH has bought in the past half-decade Industries like haute couture and jewellery are businesses based on the art of creation. While business acumen is crucial, creativity and craftsmanship are still the heart and soul of luxury jewellery making. According to Nicolas Bos, chief executive and creative director of Van Cleef & Arpels, craftsmanship fascinates people, especially in the age of digital electronics. A vital ingredient for each jewellery house, craftsmanship poses a challenge in the way it is conveyed to customers. “We each have our own vehicles, through visual components of images and videos or celebrities, for instance. But it’s not easy to show the full image,” states Bos. The brand, founded in 1896, has unveiled L’Ecole School of Jewellery Arts, an institution dedicated to jewellery education, based on its century-long heritage in jewellery making. After opening its first location in Paris, it has launched L’Ecole in Hong Kong, the first branch outside its French headquarters. The programme offers three pillars spanning 17 courses: Savoir-Faire (Craftsmanship), Art History of Jewellery and The Universe of Gemstones. Its faculty features experts from both France and Asia, including designers, gemologists, stone-setters, art and jewellery historians, lacquer artists and connoisseurs. Its sister label Cartier, always at the forefront of brand storytelling, has released a new series of L’Odyssée de Cartier following its launch in 2012. Imbued with dazzling style and a French sense of humour, the cinematic projects illustrate the maison’s inspiration and influence via compelling storytelling. At Boucheron, creativity is of paramount importance. Such belief propels the house to uphold inventiveness. “Claire [the creative director of the brand] and myself love innovation, which is always in our DNA, even though sometimes some jewellery doesn’t sell,” says Poulit-Duquesne. “But, of course, I’m here to do business. Boucheron has many classic collections that we know will sell, but sometimes experimenting with a small part of the business is giving permission to the team to be creative.” Luckily, most of the time, creativity reigns. Jack, a collection defined by playfulness and imagination, allows customers to design their own jewellery pieces and accessorising. It is one of the brand’s bestsellers. In a fast-changing luxury landscape, the doctrine has shifted from the long-held core principle of exclusivity to a balance between scarcity and accessibility, while being inclusive and emotionally impactful to customers. Historical houses are re-examining their brand heritage assets, melding them with technology and new approaches to communication to secure a brighter future. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .