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Ahead of the 2022 NFL Superbowl in the United States on February 14, the company operating Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, the newly named Meta, announced that following the football game it would be hosting a live virtual reality concert featuring the popular rock group Foo Fighters. Accessible to those owning Quest virtual reality helmets, it was billed as a sneak peek into the future of live entertainment in the metaverse.

Meta promised attendees a fully immersive rock concert experience. “We’ve never collaborated on a conceptual set of songs, including one being played live for the first time ever, for a worldwide audience, where everyone has the best seats in the house thanks to the most badass VR tech, until now,” said Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl before the event.

It was an ambitious undertaking, and it followed the success of a series of live concerts for subscribers of the popular online game, Fortnite, which featured performances by Ariana Grande, Travis Scott and Marshmello. They each attracted global audiences in excess of 10 million people, but although digitally-generated they were not full immersive experiences.

For those fans who managed to attend Meta’s Foo Fighters concert, it must have been a surreal event, watching one the world’s most popular bands up close – digitally present, while physically distant. But the concert was plagued by glitches. Some 62,000 people had indicated that they wanted to attend, but only 12,000 to 13,000 managed to do so.

Still, it was a taste of what is to come, and entertainment is just part of the story.

In the metaverse, the costs associated with exhibiting and attending trade shows would be reduced to a minimum. But there still would be expenses though. Booths would need to be designed, albeit digitally, and staffed – possibly around the clock.


There is an interminable list of potential impacts that the metaverse may have on the jewelry and gemstone business. Using augmented reality glasses, for example, one could superimpose jewelry on a person’s body, which would move naturally along with the individual, or one could seemingly place different gemstones or cuts into the same ring or pendant setting, allowing potential clients to try on items at home or in the store, without running up insurance premiums.

Augmented reality devices, which allows for the generation of 3-dimensional holograms in a real word setting, could become indispensable tools when it comes to education and instruction, running presentations for staff or clients, monitoring and managing offsite manufacturing, or simply conducting a meeting, where some of the attendees would take their seat at the table from afar.

The fully immersive metaverse, whereby the user enters a digitally created environment, blocking out the real world when they place virtual-reality helmet over their heads, provides an even broader range of possibilities. Online retailers essentially would be able to treat clients as they do customers in their brick-and-mortar stores, although security procedures could be relaxed, eliminating the need for reinforced glass display cases, expensive alarm systems and safes.

The same is true for trade shows, where the costs associated with exhibiting and attending would be reduced to a minimum. There still would be expenses though. Booths would need to be designed, albeit digitally, and staffed – possibly around the clock. The social element that is an important component could also be created, with attendees mixing, interacting, partying and sharing experiences with their colleagues’ avatars after a long day at the fair.

Speaking on March 17, 2022, during the CIBJO General Assembly in Vicenza, Italy, Marco Carniello, the VicenzaOro show director, was skeptical about digital fairs ever replacing the physical variety. But he did not discount the impact of the metaverse. Physical shows fill an inherent need for industry members to interact face to face, he said, and thus are unlikely to be displaced. But they are limited by time and space, and in the metaverse a trade fair could be a permanent occurrence, enabling companies and individuals to interact whenever they wish. The physical and the digital will live alongside each other, Carniello suggested.


Trading in the metaverse raises a range of technological challenges, including those related to protecting the integrity of the items being bought and sold, transferring funds and delivering products in return. Here as well, it will be necessary to distinguish the physical from the digital.

Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, will likely play a key role. These are a unique units of data that are stored on a blockchain. They can be traded, as one would do with a physical product, with ownership passing from one individual or entity to another in an orderly fashion. Types of NFT data units may be associated with graphic images, videos, and audio.

There already is a massive market for a NFTs, and a lively trade as well. Reena Ahluwalia, a Canadian jewelry designer, has created a series of dynamic diamond art NFTs on the OpenSea Marketplace, some unique and others released in limited editions of 10. They can be bought and displayed on a digital monitor, as one would an oil painting on the wall, and sold to a third party.

There is also a growing market for NFTs used to dress and accessorize avatars in the metaverse. The British jeweler Asprey recently announced a partnership with Bugatti to introduce its first NFTs, with plans for one-off pieces “fused with NFT technology.”

For jewelers and gemstone dealers operating in the metaverse, the practice of selling or purchasing of every physical item along with its associated NFT may be of critical importance. It is the NTF that the client will view and examine in the virtual environment, and once the sale is made the transfer of ownership will be recorded on a blockchain. The client will be able to wear the physical item of jewelry in the real world, and his or her avatar will wear its NFT equivalent in the virtual environment.

But, not only will NFTs facilitate an orderly, secure and transparent means of doing business in the metaverse, because they are recorded on a blockchain they will also assist in the creation of traceable chains of custody for both physical and digital items of jewelry.

Thus, the metaverse will enhance traceability, which is an objective that to date has been decidedly difficult to realize in the jewelry and gemstone business.

Part 2 of a 2-part article