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1990: Latest Diamond Statistics Show 9% Average Increase In Diamond Sales

December 1999

De Beers just published their extensive study on the U.S. diamond jewelry market in 1998, based on its survey of 80,000 consumers. This so-called “red book” puts the U.S. diamond jewelry market at retail at $22.186 billion, with an average increase of 9%.

The study has 69 pages filled with detailed analysis. In this issue, we will focus on the Diamond Engagement Ring (DER) because it uses the solitaire diamonds the U.S. market specializes in, and because most of the ring’s value is in the diamond, rather than the setting.

The survey found that 1.66 million pieces were sold, for a total value of $3.318 billion. While the number of pieces was about the same as the previous year, the value increased by 11% over 1997. The average diamond engagement ring was about $2,000—compared with $1,804 in 1997.

Interestingly, the average value for the 18-24 age group remained the same from the year before, but the value for the 25 to 34 age group jumped to $2,983, an increase of 7%. The 35+ group went up the most, from $2,291 to $3,312, a 36% increase. This make sense, since the average income of the fiancée increases with age. Obviously, the longer you wait, the better. (Although, as famed Yiddish actress Molly Picon once said: Don’t wait too long, or the only stone you will get is a tombstone.)

For “second time around” or “repeat” brides, the 18 – 24 bride received a ring for an average $1,953, for 25 to 34s, it’s $2128, and for 35-plus it is $2,028—both substantially less than the first-timers.

According to the survey, 57% of all diamonds sold for engagement rings are round brilliants, while 26% are marquises, 8% are emeralds/squares, 4% are pear shapes, heart shapes are 3% and ovals 2%.

These statistics have probably changed in the last year, since princess and radiants have become more popular. In our experience, the average price of the diamond engagement ring is $5 – 6,000 — although De Beers probably factors in mass merchants.

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