The market for luxury fine jewelry has been vastly growing, with year-end 2021 U.S. jewelry retail sales up 51% at $95.2 billion.* While diamonds have dominated this market for years, we are now seeing that other untreated colored gemstones, such as emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, as well as pearls growing in demand.
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Here’s what we have found to cause this shift in demand:
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, colored precious gemstones have become a more affordable option for sellers to build their collections.
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 jewelry collections, and are turning to gemstones for bridal jewelry. Rich jewel tones have been making a greater appearance in color palettes for wedding parties and venues, with precious jeweled accessories to coordinate.
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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