April 13, 1999
Diamond Market Up 9% in '98
For the first time ever, the average price paid for a diamond engagement ring reached $2,000 last year, 11% more than the average in 1997, says the Diamond Information Center, New York City.
DIC reports diamond jewelry sales overall grew 9% in 1998 compared to '97, totaling more than $22 billion. Sales rose 13% over '97 in diamond sales to married women. There was an 11% rise in sales of non-bridal jewelry. The number of pieces sold rose 4% from the previous year.
In addition to better quality engagement rings, diamond jewelry worth $2,000 and more also grew 9% compared to 1997, with a 5% increase in average price paid.
DIC credits the U.S. economic climate coupled with consumers' quality mindset as some of the reasons for last year's positive results. The "Seize the Day" campaign for Christmas 1998 is having a tremendous impact on the market, says Richard Lennox, director of the De Beers groups at J. Walter Thompson in New York City. He expresses equally optimistic views about the "Evolution" campaign and other initiatives for the millennium.
- by Robert Weldon, G.G.