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Diamonds are not forever: The rising trend of other precious stones

emerald earrings

The global market for luxury fine jewellery has been vastly growing, with year-end 2021 U.S. jewellery retail sales up 51% at $95.2 billion.* While diamonds have dominated this market for years, we are now seeing that other untreated coloured gemstones such as emeralds, rubies and sapphires, as well as pearls growing in demand.


Did you know?

  • 75% of retailers and 92% of manufacturers reported that the precious coloured gemstone jewellery category is a higher margin category than diamond jewellery.†
  • 40% of younger consumers (23-40) chose sapphire as their favourite gemstone closely followed by ruby and emerald with half of this group already having purchased sapphire jewellery.†
  • Pearl jewellery is particularly strong among the millennial 25-to-35-year-old demographic. ‡
  • Specifically, 42% of millennials are very likely to request pearl jewellery, as compared with only 19% of 46-to-55 year olds.‡


Here’s what we have found to cause this shift in demand:


New sourcing opportunities

Historically, gemstone mining was limited to only a few different countries, with Sri Lanka being the largest source for many precious stones. However, with new mines developed in other locations like Zambia and Ethiopia, coloured precious gemstones have become a more affordable option for sellers to build their collections.


Millennial market

Not surprisingly, millennials are looking outside the box and willing to experiment with new trends in the gemstone industry. They are seeking more unique pieces to build their jewellery collections, and are turning to gemstones for bridal jewellery. Rich jewel tones have been making a greater appearance in colour palettes for wedding parties and venues, with precious jeweled accessories to coordinate. 


Celebrity influence

Gemstones like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds have long been chosen by celebrities and royalty for engagement rings instead of diamonds. One of the most famous engagement rings of all time is a beautiful sapphire ring that has been worn by both Princess Diana and her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton. Pearls have also been more prominent in the fashion industry with designers such as Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, Givenchy, Dior, Versace, Miu Miu and Chanel showing pearls on the catwalk.†






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