The Karat Gold Report

A questionnaire sent to the JCK Retail Jeweler Panel in January asked about karat gold jewelry sales. The questions and responses are detailed below.

All karat gold and gems-set-in-gold jewelry accounts for what percentage of total annual sales, by dollar volume?

Less than 10% 8.9%
10%-19% 24.8%
20%-29% 15.4%
30%-39% 17.2%
More than 40% 33.74%

Detail the karat gold content of your entire jewelry inventory. *

10k 10%
14k 80%
18k 15%
22k or 24k 4%
* Percentages are median responses

Compared to five years ago, detail how this karat gold inventory (excluding bridal and watches) has shifted in terms of how much 18k vs. 14k vs. 10k you stock and sell.

Stock/sell more 14k 17.9%
Stock/sell more 18k 38%
Increased both 12.3%
Decreased both 8.4%
No change 27.4%
Added 22k or 24k lines 1.1%
Sell primarily 10k 1.7%
(Percentages refer to respondents)

Compared to five years ago, detail how your karat gold bridal jewelry has shifted in terms of how much 18k vs. 14k you stock and sell.

Stock/sell more 14k 12.9%
Stock/sell more 18k 43.3%
Increased both 11.8%
Decreased both 3.9%
No change 32%
Added 22k or 24k lines 1.1%
Sell primarily 10k 0%

Define how many units of karat gold you sell annually.

Less than 10 14.8%
10-19 14.2%
20-29 13.5%
30-39 10.3%
40 More than 47.1%

Define the average margin turn for karat gold jewelry.

10k 2X
14k 2X
22k or 24k 2X

Define the average turn ratio for most karat gold jewelry.

Bridal 1.5X
Non-bridal basics (i.e., omega chain, hoop earrings, etc.) 2X
Designer or 22k/24k 1X
Fashion (i.e., fancy necklaces and bracelets, etc.) 1.4X

Name all of your best-selling 18k gold jewelry categories.

Wedding bands 49.2%
Engagement rings 26.6%
Diamond and colored-stone fashion rings 15.2%
Bracelets 12.1%
Bridal 9.1%
Rings 9.1%
Semimounts 7.7%
Earrings 7.6%
Necklaces 6.1%
Chains 5.3%
Mountings 4.5%
Designer jewelry 3.8%
Omega chains 3.8%
Pendants 3.0%
Slides 3.0%
Custom-designed jewelry 2.3%
Charms 2.3%
Watches 2.3%
High-end ruby and sapphire rings 1.5%
(Percentages refer to respondents)

If you’ve shifted to a greater proportion of 18k (or higher) inventory, give all reasons why.

Differentiate from mass merchants 36.4%
Store has become more upscale overall 59.1%
Customers ask for it 43.6%
More interesting designs available 43.6%
Better margins 20%
Other 18.1%
Other reasons include: With some overseas manufacturers, 18k is more readily in stock than 14k; many suppliers offer only 18k or platinum; the whites are whiter and the yellows are more yellow; perceived as higher quality; easier to work with; a selling tool; a richer look that accentuates custom designs; platinum usually blends with 18k; 18k comes mixed with platinum on wedding bands; Nomination uses 18k on stainless steel; use for fancier bridal and custom work; for very high-end stores.

Do you sell karat gold watches?

Men’s 3.5%
Women’s 14.6%
Both 81.9%

If so, how many do you sell per year?

Source: January 2003 JCK Retail Jeweler Panel. The response rate for this survey is 28.3% (190 responses out of 672 questionnaires sent). The number of fine jewelers in the United States is approximately 25,000.
Fewer than 10 60%
10-19 16.4%
20-29 7.9%
30-39 3.6%
More than 40 12.1%
(Percentages refer to respondents)