Platinum demand for jewelry falls for the first time in 16 years

Soaring platinum prices caused jewelry demand for the metal to fall for the first time in 16 years, the “Platinum 2001” survey by Johnson Matthey reports.

Platinum prices that topped $600 caused price sensitivity in the low-end market, the report says. It predicts manufacturers may shift to lighter-weight designs or lower-priced white gold.

Overall, jewelry demand for platinum declined by 1% last year, due to weakness in the Japanese market. In the U.S., demand for platinum jumped 15%, because of the fashion trend towards white metal jewelry. The report notes there was particularly strong growth in platinum wedding bands. Manufacturers also introduced lightweight platinum rings to meet mass-market price points.

The outlook for platinum in the U.S. in 2001 is mixed, the report said. While it expects platinum to continue to make inroads in the jewelry market, it won’t be at the same growth as previous years.