More Buy Jewelry for Themselves

June 30, 2005

More Buy Jewelry for Themselves

With U.S. diamond jewelry sales reaching $31.5 billion last year, it's no surprise a majority, some 83% of the 3,161 consumers surveyed, own diamond jewelry, according to a June Omnibus Study conducted by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council. What is surprising is that more than half of the almost 500 men surveyed own diamond jewelry, with over half of them willing to buy more for themselves (up 23 % over a September 2004 JCOC study). Women are not waiting for the men in their lives to buy them diamonds. Of the nearly 90% of female respondents who say they own diamond jewelry, almost 70% have purchased it for themselves in the past (up 5% over the same September 2004 JCOC study), and more than 80% are willing to buy more for themselves in the future.

These stats are consistent with a February study on self-purchases. That study showed more than 70 % of 3,391 consumers surveyed (more than 80% female), were open to purchasing fine jewelry for themselves, diamonds being the favored gemstone. Self-purchases for women and men in general remain strong. Of the nearly 12 % of total respondents in June who plan on buying diamond jewelry in the next six months, more than 70% are expected to be self-purchases. Nearly 20% would likely buy diamond stud earrings, right-hand rings and other diamond fashion rings for themselves.

Just over 50% say they have purchased diamond jewelry for an engagement or wedding, while Christmas was cited by over 31%, and birthdays by nearly 40% as the ideal occasion to buy diamonds. More than half need no special occasion or reason for their purchases. Rings are the most prominent category of diamond jewelry owned by respondents in the study – including engagement, wedding, fashion, and right-hand rings. Nearly 58% own a pair of diamond stud earrings, and 36% own a different style of diamond earrings. Over a quarter have a diamond tennis bracelet. Yellow and white gold are the leading metal choices for diamond jewelry.

Price, style, design, and quality are the most important attributes when shopping for diamond jewelry. Over half of respondents rate a laboratory-grading certificate as somewhat to extremely important, but the overwhelming majority, 84%, believe the name of the laboratory is unimportant. More than half see a diamond with a laboratory certificate as more valuable than one without. Consumers are indifferent about diamond brands. The most common price range for past and future diamond jewelry purchases among both men and women is $501-$1,000, with national chain and independent jewelers the most popular shopping venues.

The majority of respondents rate their knowledge of diamond jewelry as neither poor nor outstanding. Among consumer misconceptions is a belief that the term "treated" means "laboratory-made," and that natural diamonds do not come in any colors other than white or clear. "Recent JCOC studies show opportunity for retail growth in men's diamond jewelry, as well as diamond jewelry self-purchases for both genders," explains Destini Gillham, market research manager for the JCOC. "Savvy retailers with merchandise that provides value in price and quality, and offers design and style, are positioned to make the sale. The importance of laboratory certificates is significant, while laboratory name and diamond brand are less critical."

Gillham notes that education is still vital in the diamond-buying experience. Whether a self- or gift purchase, diamond jewelry remains a popular choice across many different jewelry styles and price points, notes Gillham. Diamonds are expected to be a holiday favorite. For full details of the study, including general jewelry buying habits and economic confidence levels for the month of May, visit JCOC can provide custom research studies on a full range of jewelry topics, and can also be reached via email at

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