b'ContemporaryJ E W E L R Y Hemmerle brass, wood, peridot, D E S I G N E R S and tourmaline cuff bracelet OH, As coun-C O L L E C T what a time tobe alive. tries around the globe locked down NOW at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one might have thought the prevailing uncertainty would inhibit sales of luxury items like fine jewelry, particularly with physical stores closed and any type of in-person selling event out of the question. But the fine jewelry sector evolved, and quickly. Quaran-tined shoppers were, to put it quite simply, bored. They took to Instagram, where they interacted with their favorite brands, perusing the pieces they offered. They visited e-commerce sites, and supported their favorite businesses, with money that may typically have been diverted to travel or clothing instead funding fine jewelry purchases.Jewelry also benefited from being crafted out of precious metals, a legit-imate economic vehicle seen as a safe investment in uncertain times. Gold hit a record high of $2,063 an ounce in August 2020, according to CNBC, marking a 32 percent increase in the first eight months of the year. Lots of fine jewelry sellers had their best years yet. Who wouldve guessed?The surge in jewelry purchases has helped companies learn more about their customers, what they value, what they splurge on, and how their tastes are evolving. NATIONAL JEWELER 49'