Diamond jewelry sales rose by about 30% in the last three months—February through May—versus 2019, according to the Natural Diamond Council (NDC).
Perhaps less surprisingly, sales were nearly three times over last year, when the country was in the throes of the COVID-19 lockdown.
NDC CEO David Kellie says the sales numbers come from a mix of proprietary, public, and subscription sources. He notes they roughly track with the latest results from Signet Jewelers, in which comps rose 27.2% from the same quarter two years ago, as well as results from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which saw jewelry sales rise an amazing 44.7% over two years ago in May.
Kellie says that the average price point is also higher; he attributes this rise to strong growth in the large-stone segment of the market.
He also says that there has “been a fair amount of growth” in sales to millennials. As far as gender goes, the sales are split, with both men and women buying diamonds in equal amounts.
He attributes the growth to a number of things: a general boom in weddings; continued reluctance to travel and engage in experience-related activities; and “more people out and about” and wanting to dress up.
“Over the last year, people have not created many memories. Now, they’re saying they want to go out and create new memories, and diamond jewelry is part of that desire.”
Of course, post-vaccine, travel may come back, and that could prove a challenge, Kellie says.
“If we connect diamond jewelry with travel and experiences, then we’ll stay culturally relevant. That is crucial for the industry.”
He notes the industry is well aware that demand has soared, with producers like De Beers and Alrosa increasing both rough prices and allocations. But the NDC wants the outside world to know how well things are going.
“The industry has been too focused on internal audiences,” says Kellie. “We need to focus more on external audiences. The industry knows what’s happening. But I don’t know that the broader press does.”
Kellie says the NDC is readying a new ad campaign, which will debut in September.
Top: Fiocco diamond ring by Picchiotti
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine