For all the glamour and fantasy that jewelry inspires, many of its most prestigious names had humble beginnings. Case in point: the story of Lux Bond & Green. The 123-year-old jeweler started when founder Morris A. Green would fix eyeglasses and repair pocket watches from a horse-drawn cart. The family-owned company has grown to five stores across Massachusetts and Connecticut in the intervening decades. Its offerings extend from diamonds for everyday to extravagant once-in-a-lifetime heirlooms. Current President and CEO John Green, part of the fourth generation of his family to join the business, talks sustainability, new designers and evolving diamond jewelry trends. One thing that hasn’t changed since day one is the hands-on focus on clients. “When I’m in the store, I wait on customers every day,” says Green.
“Diamonds are truly symbols of love and accomplishment.”
John Green, President and CEO of Lux Bond & Green
Shoppers have lots of options for buying diamonds. So why do they choose Lux Bond & Green?
John Green: We’re very good at buying and training, and we have wonderful gemologists. Our staff is not on commission, so they don’t have to make the biggest sale to put food on their plate. That helps build relationships. We have customers at all five locations that come to the stores frequently—often not to purchase, just to play—and our staff encourages that. Clients feel comfortable in our stores, and they know our staff is really professional and passionate.
Why do diamonds remain such objects of fascination?
JG: Diamonds are things you can wear and see every day. They sparkle. They have value and, in many cases, hold their value, though I don’t think that really has anything to do with it. I genuinely believe diamonds are beautiful, and thank goodness so many people believe that too. People look at the diamond on their hand, their wrist, in the mirror and say, “Oh, wow. I’ve made it. I’ve worked hard. I’ve been successful.” Diamonds are truly symbols of love and accomplishment.
Lux Bond & Green is a member of the Responsible Jewelry Council, which sets strict standards for the jewelry and watch industry. How does that influence your business?
JG: Sustainability and making sure we do the right thing at Lux Bond & Green and in our industry is always important to our family. It’s hard and requires a lot of work by many people, but it’s all for the betterment of our business, industry, and world. It affects everything, from the light bulbs we buy to how we dispose of toxic materials that we use in our shops, and even
safety standards for our workers, like making sure we have fire drills several times a year. We have to know who we’re doing business with, that our diamonds comply with the Kimberley Process. Unless you have practices and policies, you’re not protecting your company, workers, and environment.
JG: For many years, our industry hasn’t been as inclusive as it should be, but I think it’s great that many stores are starting to think about the designers they offer. Yes, they’re Italian, or, yes, they’re American but also making sure they’re reaching out to a lot of different people, including African Americans and other people of color.
I’m very excited to be a part of this in a little way. The jewelry is fantastic. For example, we’re featuring the gorgeous diamond baguette earrings by Malyia McNaughton. We put them in our holiday catalog. They take the whole inside-out hoop design to another level.
Your stores are beautiful but how do you reach clients who can’t get to one?
JG: Customers can shop the way they feel comfortable: in-store, online, via texting, concierge, virtually or by appointment. They have all been very important to today’s success. The experience has to be great and easy to let our customers know we are here to give them an exceptional experience.
What styling tricks excite you most?
JG: Layering! And the fact that nothing has to match anymore, so long as pieces complement each other. Everyone is saying, “I’m going to wear jewelry the way I want to.” So it’s OK to take a little of this and a little of that and put it together. It can still be very tasteful.
Which styles were most in-demand for holiday shopping?
JG: One of the things we’ve seen during the last year and that I think will continue is a return to classics, diamond line bracelets. They were big in the 1980s from the moment one fell from Chrissy Evert’s wrist at a Virginia Slims tennis tournament, and they became known as tennis bracelets. We have been selling them every month. The same goes for diamond line necklaces. We’ve sold so many this year, with diamonds that are uniform in size. People aren’t saving them to go out. They wear them all the time.
And diamonds studs have continued to explode in popularity. It’s the one kind of jewelry that women are always happy to trade up. People are sentimental about engagement rings but not diamond studs; they’re happy to get a larger pair.
Are men buying diamond jewelry too?
JG: From simple bezel earrings and diamond rings, men absolutely want diamonds: everything is in play. Diamond bands continue to grow in popularity and layering bracelets and necklaces are as much for a man as for women.
It’s engagement season. What are couples looking for now?
JG: Styles and goldsmithing techniques have advanced so much. It makes for more fun, diversity and opportunities to create more one-of-a-kind custom looks.
Pear and marquise shapes are back. They were invisible a few years ago when it was all about the round cut, then the cushion, then the emerald cut. There’s a real balance to the shapes that we’re selling that I haven’t seen since the earliest part of my career. Also uncut rough diamonds, hidden halo, setting diamonds sideways and rose and yellow gold are all part of the engagement ring mix.
And since we’ve always been about quality and value, I’m very happy to say more and more consumers want better quality. It’s not just about the biggest diamond. Clients want the most beautiful diamond they can get within their budget. That plays into what Lux Bond & Green is all about.