Going for the Gold

Growing demand for gold jewelry helped push gold usage in the United States to a record 428.4 metric tons in 1998, an 18% jump—the highest ever. Gold jewelry accounted for 353 metric tons, another record and an 8% increase over 1997 figures. Consumption was driven by the expanding U.S. economy, rising consumer spending, low gold prices, and untraditional distribution channels such as TV shopping, electronic retailing, and discount chains. Gold prices have hovered below $300 per metric ounce for more than 18 months, driving down production costs and lowering retail prices, especially in the low-to-middle range. As a result, department stores saw an 11% gain in gold jewelry units sold and an 11% gain in revenues last year, while discount stores and catalog showrooms sold 8.6% more pieces and gained 7.2% in receipts compared with 1997 figures. Jewelers’ sales. The World Gold Council
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