Supply chain issues are affecting the jewelry industry

ORANGE COUNTY, NC – The jewelry industry is vibrant year round, but Carrboro jeweler Karl Linger says Christmas is one of the busiest seasons.

What would you like to know

  • North Carolina jeweler Karl Linger owns Rings True in the CarrMill mall, says Christmas is one of the busiest seasons
  • Mastercard Spending Pulse report shows jewelry sales increased 78.4% from November 2020 to November 2021
  • Linger says they saw a delay in obtaining stones due to pandemic restrictions slowing and even stopping the process of mining diamonds overseas

“Christmas is a great holiday for us,” said Linger, owner of Rings True jewelry in the CarrMill shopping center.

While supply chain issues cause a shortage of almost everything, there is no shortage of people looking to buy jewelry. According to a report from Mastercard Spending Pulse, November saw a 78.4% increase in jewelry sales compared to last year.

Linger’s career in the jewelry industry began 45 years ago in a New York City cab. He found himself on the scene in North Carolina, opening his own storefront, Rings True, six years ago.

“Most of the time I’ve spent in the business has been behind the scenes. I rarely had the opportunity to meet the client at the end. I had no idea how different it would be for me as a jeweler, ”said Linger.

Linger and his team spend countless hours, seven days a week, transforming raw materials into a unique work of art. Linger says it takes between 12 and 16 hours to create a custom piece from start to finish.

“When I work in a ring like this I know who it’s for and I remember the people I’m building for. It’s a much more fulfilling process, ”said Linger.

With materials sourced from all over the world, Linger and his company fell victim to the supply chain crisis.

“We get materials from all over the world. We deal with a refiner who supplies us with all the recycled materials. Other things are coming from all the different countries – Belgium, New York, California, ”Linger said.

However, throughout the pandemic, Linger says obtaining gold and platinum has not been a problem.

“More than it is not available in the quantity we would normally choose. For example colored stones, a particular shade or we are looking for a particular product, the availability of a good assortment is not as high as it used to be, ”said Linger.

Linger says they have seen a delay in obtaining stones like small diamonds. This is because of the pandemic restrictions that are slowing and even stopping the process of mining and cutting diamonds overseas.

“There isn’t the volume that there typically is in the industry,” Linger said.

But it is Linger’s bespoke creations and his work with recycled materials that allow him to meet customer demand.

“Much of the industry is limited to use. So because [we] building our own rings and doing our own work here, everything is personalized. We are able to do things that are off the beaten track or a little unusual, ”Linger said.

Reports show the diamond industry is on the mend. According to the Gemstone and Jewelry Export Promotion Council, diamond exports increased 146% from last year.

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