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Jewelry ranks as top luxury item among wealthy

March 11, 2014

The Patiño emerald and diamond necklace sold at Christie's Geneva for $9.9 million in November 2013, one of the auction house's top jewelry lots for the year. Jewelry is the most widely collected luxury item in the world, according to The Wealth Report.

London--Jewelry is the most widely collected luxury item in the world among the wealthy, although in North America it ranks third behind art and watches, according to The Wealth Report 2014.

The Wealth Report is conducted annually by London-based independent property consultancy company Knight Frank, and is a commentary on global prime property markets, wealth distribution and investment sentiment.

This year’s survey is more comprehensive than ever, Knight Frank said, reflecting the attitudes of more than 23,000 UHNWIs (ultra-high net worth individuals) with an average worth of $68 million each, and a combined wealth of more than $1.5 trillion.

Jewelry ranked as the top “investment of passion” for the wealthy in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia. It was the third most widespread investment of passion in Australia and North America, and the fourth in Europe.

Watches as an investment of passion ranked third globally and fell in second or third in every region except Australia, where it ranked sixth.

Diamonds ranked as the third greatest investment of passion in Asia, and fell into fourth, fifth or sixth place in every other region. The stones ranked fifth globally.

While personal pleasure is cited by 61 percent of the world’s wealthy as the main reason why they collect so-called investments of passion, they are also hopeful those investments will not lose value and consider it an investment for capital growth (16 percent).

Another 15 percent say these investments are for status (15 percent), are a “safe haven” (6 percent) or are purchased merely for the sake of fashion (1 percent).

As wealth increases worldwide, so do levels of spending on luxury goods.

A total of 36 percent of respondents from the Wealth Report’s Attitudes Survey, conducted among UHNWI’s advisors and private bankers, said their clients will continue to spend more in 2014, with the sentiment most bullish in Africa (46 percent) and most cautious in Europe (30 percent), the report stated.

When asked how their clients’ net worth had changed on average in 2013, 75 percent of the advisors and bankers said it had increased while only 4 percent reported that it had dropped.

In North America, 81 percent of respondents reported an increase in net worth among their clients.

Almost two-thirds of advisors and bankers said their clients are positive about wealth creation prospects in 2014. Only 4 percent said their clients were “downbeat,” and 34 percent said their clients expect the status quo to be maintained.

The report states that the wealth creation outlook for 2014 is greatest in the Middle East and Europe at an increase of 70 percent for both, followed by Africa (69 percent) and North America (67 percent).

“This more cautious view probably reflects ongoing concerns about the robustness of the economic recovery and whether last year’s equities bounce can be sustained, as well as other factors, such as reduction in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program,” Knight Frank said.