Market sentiment leading up to the holiday was decidedly undecided
The U.S. jewelry industry was, at press time, getting mixed signals heading into the holiday season. Price declines in the rough market were slow to transfer to the polished sector, and dealers reported that it would be months before polished prices saw any real changes. Sales, slower than expected in October and early November, contributed to the general sense of stagnation. This had some pundits lowering their outlook for the season.
The most popular sellers in the diamond category are appreciably smaller than a year ago. Today, demand is very strong for half-carat rounds. High prices and shortages for 2 ct.-plus sizes are making for a volatile market.
In the colored stone niche, dealers reported that demand also narrowed unexpectedly in November. Tanzanite has strengthened, while emerald and ruby have softened. Consequently, many lesser-known semiprecious gems are seeing good demand thanks to their availability, not to mention their appealing price points.