Diamond Jewelry Market Grew 6% in 2006, JWT Says

Despite the hype over Blood Diamond, the U.S. diamond jewelry market grew again last year, JWT, De Beers' U.S. marketing agency, reported recently. Overall retail sales of diamond jewelry increased by 6.1 percent in 2006, to $35.2 billion, a $2 billion increase over 2005's $33.2 billion. The growth was largely fueled by a 9.1 percent growth in the average price of pieces sold. Overall transactions slipped 2.7 percent. JWT executives told JCK there were a variety of reasons the average price increased, including an increase in commodity prices like gold. In addition, David Sisson, JWT's director of market intelligence, notes the company's new “beacons” are “designed to get a higher average price.” But Sisson said he didn't think the decline in pieces sold was the result of Blood Diamond and the hype surrounding it. “The piece decline was pretty standard throughout the year a

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