ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. — The jewelry industry is bustling year-round, but Carrboro jeweler Karl Linger says Christmas is one of the busiest seasons.

What You Need To Know

  • North Carolina jeweler Karl Linger owns Rings True in the CarrMill Mall and says Christmas is one of the busiest seasons

  • Mastercard Spending Pulse report shows jewelry sales had a 78.4% increase from November 2020 to November 2021 

  • Linger says they’ve seen a delay in getting stones because of pandemic restrictions slowing and even stopping the process of diamond mining overseas

“Christmas is the super holiday for us,” Linger, owner of Rings True jewelry store in the CarrMill Mall, said.

While supply chain issues are causing a shortage of nearly everything, there is no shortage of people wanting to purchase jewelry. According to a Mastercard Spending Pulse report, November saw a 78.4% increase in jewelry sales compared to last year.

Linger’s career in the jewelry business started 45 years ago in a New York City taxi cab. He ended up on the scene in North Carolina, opening his own storefront, Rings True, six years ago.

“Most of the time I’ve spent in the trade has been behind the scenes. I rarely got to meet the client at the end. I didn’t realize how different it would be for me as a jeweler,” Linger said.

Linger and his team spend countless hours, seven days a week, crafting raw materials into a one-of-a-kind work of art. Linger says it takes anywhere between 12 to 16 hours to craft a custom piece from start to finish.

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

With materials coming from all over the world, Linger and his business have been a victim of the supply chain crisis.

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

However, throughout the pandemic, Linger says getting gold and platinum has not been an issue.

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

Linger says they’ve seen a delay in getting stones like small diamonds. That’s because of pandemic restrictions slowing and even stopping the process of diamond mining and cutting overseas.

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

But it’s Linger’s custom creations and work with recycled materials that allows him to keep up with client demand.

“A lot of the industry is limited to use. So, because [we] build our own rings and do our own work here, it’s all custom. We’re able to do things that are outside the box or a little unusual,” Linger said.

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