Jewelers couldn’t believe their eyes in early August when the price of gold temporarily topped the price of the traditionally more expensive platinum.
At press time, the two metals were roughly at parity, with gold trading at $1,818 an ounce and platinum at $1,850.
“We have seen gold approaching platinum for some time now,” says Mark Danks, sales and marketing manager for Johnson Matthey, which monitors the platinum business. “Platinum has been relatively stable compared to gold.”
Naturally, Platinum Guild International execs are hoping the gold price spike will spur sales of jewelry’s iconic white metal. “We have definitely noticed a shift,” says PGI president Huw Daniel. “The customer that is looking for an 18 karat wedding band is drifting over to platinum.”
Indeed, Joel Weiss, vice president of Carrera Casting Corp., says June was the first month that he shipped as much gold as platinum. “Platinum’s price always scared people away,” he says. “But now there is virtually no difference in prices. I think platinum is really a hot metal.”
On Aug. 18, the World Gold Council acknowledged that U.S. gold jewelry sales had fallen 8 percent in the second quarter, and blamed the economy for causing an “environment that was not favorable to gold jewelry demand.”