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1990: Diamond Industry Sales Indicate Diamond as A Symbol Of Commitment

November 1999

A lot of people think the media focus only on the negative aspects of the diamond industry. So as we enter the all-important fourth quarter, we want to spotlight good news:

— U.S. Commerce Department figures say rough and polished imports into the country have already reached $6 billion by September. While this won’t all be consumed here, it looks like we will beat last year’s total.

— Merrill Lynch predicted a 5.5% increase in retail sales this holiday season. However, they also predicted the season may not be as profitable as 1998.

— A Jewelers of America survey showed a 9.1% growth in retail sales and 11% jump in profitability last year, the highest sales growth in a decade.

— In the third quarter, the Gross Domestic Product increased 4.8% While consumer confidence has fallen for the last four months, it’s still higher than it was at this point last year.

— De Beers “Millennium” campaign seems to be working. In a survey, 79% of Americans said that they thought that a gesture of commitment would be an appropriate way to mark the new millennium. And more than a third of those thought diamonds would be a good symbol of that commitment.

— There is also good news in China. Diamond jewelry sales surpassed gold, jade and platinum jewelry sales last year, De Beers found. A company survey found the amount of Chinese women owning diamond jewelry doubled last year, to 11% from 6%. Diamond jewelry was particularly popular among younger prople.

The Far East is improving, so perhaps it’s time for dealers to look beyond America. They will find a different Far East market—buyers will request memorandums, as well as medium-quality goods.

It looks like a record year. Still, statistics mean nothing if you don’t have the right reputation, inventory and staff. The pie is bigger, but only for those who work at it.

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