A Message from Roswitha Affemann

Platinum jewelry has quickly established a foothold in the United States during the past few years. The American jewelry industry’s consistency, directness, and determination to reach a goal have made the United States the largest and most important market for platinum jewelry in the Western world. Congratulations to the industry, to the trade, and especially to my American colleague Laurie Hudson and her team for this praiseworthy achievement.

Platinum Guild International USA has played a major role in persuading American consumers to buy platinum merchandise. After all, the notion that only a true believer can convince others of the merits of something is not just an old wives’ tale. It’s especially true when it comes to marketing platinum, the most precious jewelry metal but a product that hardly “sells itself.”

It’s surely not enough merely to place pieces of platinum jewelry in showcases, then sit back and wait for customers to come along and ask about them. Platinum requires that one first make some investments. These may be financial investments, or they may be investments of

energy, perseverance, and patience. It takes all these qualities to successfully market this noble metal over the long term, but once these investments are made, the rewards are sure to follow. The payoffs include profitable return on investment, image enhancement, and a more distinctive profile for the retail enterprise itself. This “platinum marketing career” has been pursued by participants in the German jewelry market since 1976, the year PGI Germany was founded.

The situation in Germany is similar (albeit on a much smaller scale) to the situation in the United States, which Laurie Hudson so accurately described in her guest editorial in the previous Platinum Quarterly (JCK, April 2000, p. 103). Platinum jewelry has acquired an increasingly important role in the German market. Domestic sales in Germany have doubled during the past three years, and exports have experienced a rise that’s without parallel or precedent in the history of European platinum jewelry.

The major market for German exports of platinum jewelry is the United States. The German-American platinum friendship has a highly emotional component, but it also enjoys quantifiable value in terms of numbers and facts. Isn’t that wunderbar?

Why is German platinum jewelry so avidly sought and so highly esteemed by American consumers? Is it because of the special grace and aura that emanate from German design? Is it the “Teutonic” emphasis on quality craftsmanship from start to finish? (Some people say we Germans are more in love with technology and perfection than we are with our own spouses!)

A combination of all these influences has produced the positive response. But one factor deserves particular emphasis: Germany’s platinum jewelry culture, with its high levels of technology and innovative energy, enjoys a significant head start (16 years, to be precise) in working with platinum.

But we Germans are well advised not to rest upon our “platinum laurels.” In certain areas, our American friends already have caught up with us. In other areas, they’ve moved into the passing lane and are about to step on the gas and overtake us! On the one hand, this development represents a fruitful contribution to German-American competition. On the other hand, this U.S.-German “United Platinum Power” might well develop into an energy-charged motor that could advance platinum into the position of a global player in the luxury jewelry market. What a fabulous challenge for the new platinum millennium.