Gold Passes $2K Per Ounce as Jewelry Demand Plummets

MajorsAug 10, 2020

Gold Passes $2K Per Ounce as Jewelry Demand Plummets

And the price is likely to keep rising this year.

The gold price rose to a record high this month, crossing the $2,000-per-ounce threshold. Pictured here is Gumuchian’s Honeybee “B” 18-karat gold and diamond linking bracelet.

London—The story of gold jewelry demand and price in the first half of the year is inextricably linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As nations across the world enacted lockdown restrictions, primarily during the second quarter, to slow the spread of the coronavirus, demand for both gold and gold jewelry plummeted, the World Gold Council said in its most recent Gold Demand Trends report.

Even as the pandemic severely hampered consumer demand, it also provided an opportunity for investment, with central banks and governments fueling record flows into gold-backed ETFs, lifting the gold price to record highs in several currencies.

As of Friday, the precious metal was trading at $2,034.80 per ounce, according to, a major increase since the start of the year.

In January, the gold price averaged $1,560.67, Kitco charts show.

The gold price continued to rise until mid-March, when it fell to a low of $1,474.25 as governments worldwide began enacting stay-at-home orders.

Then it began its rise again, increasing every month until it passed the $2,000-per-ounce price point in August, reaching its highest point in eight years.

And it doesn’t seem likely it will level out anytime soon, according to some experts.

A few sources have predicted the price of gold could increase to as much as $3,000 per ounce within the next 18 months or even by year’s end.

As the gold price continues its climb, jewelry demand has gone the other way.

According to the World Gold Council, gold jewelry demand was nearly cut in half during the first half of the year, falling 46 percent year-over-year to 572 tons, which it said is the lowest since it started keeping track.

It’s also around half of the 10-year average of 1,106 tons.

In Q2, demand reached a quarterly low of 251 tons, a 53 percent decline year-over-year, as consumers across the world felt the effects of lockdown and the resulting economic slowdown.

In the U.S., demand lost some of the momentum it had gained in recent years, falling 34 percent year-over-year in the second quarter to 19.1 tons, the lowest quarter in WGC’s series.

H1 demand was also down, declining 21 percent to an eight-year low of 41.9 tons.

WGC said store closures due to COVID-19 were the “clear reason” for the decline, made even more severe because the lockdown encompassed two holidays—Easter and Mother’s Day.

Demand “collapsed” in April

and May before recovering in June as stores slowly started reopening and consumers started spending their government-issued stimulus checks.

While the U.S. experienced a drop-off, China and India were the biggest contributors to the global demand decline in the first half of the year, WGC said. Their size when compared to the rest of the world means weakness there has “an overwhelming impact” on global demand.

Q2 jewelry demand in China fell 33 percent year-over-year to 90.9 tons, resulting in a 52 percent decline year-over-year in the first half of the year to 152.2 tons, its lowest H1 since 2007.

As the earliest market to emerge from lockdown, China was the only one to see a quarter-over-quarter recovery from “extreme Q1 weakness,” WGC said, and a “sizable” rebound in jewelry demand from the first quarter to the second.

Even with the upswing, first-half demand in the country remained “muted,” with retailers attributing the weakness to high gold prices, falling disposable incomes, and a greater preference for lighter-weight gold jewelry products.

Q2 gold jewelry demand in India plunged due to the country’s lockdown, the loss of a festival buying occasion and the higher gold price, declining 74 percent year-over-year to 44 tons, the lowest quarterly total in WGC’s series “by some margin,” it said.

This meant H1 demand was down 60 percent to an all-time low of 117.8 tons.

The country’s lockdown lasted from late March until mid-May, running through the important gold- buying festival of Akshaya Tritiya, with sales “trivial” when compared with the previous year as stores remained closed.

As restrictions eased in the middle of the second quarter, activity picked back up in some regions.

June saw further improvement but a lack of weddings and auspicious holidays in the month, as well as recurring lockdowns and the high gold price, hampered any meaningful recovery.

Gold jewelry demand in Europe also fell to an all-time low.

The second quarter was down 42 percent year-over-year to just 8.2 tons, taking the first-half total down 29 percent to 19 tons.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

Lab-GrownAug 12, 2022
Report: State Bank of India to Begin Lending to Lab-Grown Producers

The loans will go mostly to the import of machinery rather than working capital, according to a recent article from The Economic Times.

FinancialsAug 12, 2022
Brilliant Earth’s Fine Jewelry a Hit in Q2

The company is also continuing its retail expansion.

AuctionsAug 12, 2022
2 Rolexes Paul Newman Gave to Stuntman Stan Barrett Head to Auction

The sale also will include a third Rolex, with all three watches tied to Barrett’s 1979 attempt to break the world record for land speed.

Brought to you by
The American Mined™ Collection: Ethical Sourcing That Matters

Rio Grande provides a pathway to responsibly sourced gemstones.

CollectionsAug 12, 2022
Piece of the Week: İTÄ Jewelry’s ‘Danza’ Ring

It mixes diamond shapes and colors.

Weekly QuizAug 11, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
Supplier BulletinAug 11, 2022
AGTA GemFair™ Denver – Back and Better Than Before!

Sponsored by AGTA

AuctionsAug 11, 2022
Sotheby’s Is Preparing its First Art Jewelry Auction This Fall

“Art as Jewelry as Art” features works from artists like Salvador Dalí, Alexander Calder, and Max Ernst.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

IndependentsAug 11, 2022
Martin Katz Is Moving to a Penthouse

The jeweler is relocating his Beverly Hills store after 20 years and has begun developing a lifestyle brand.

Events & AwardsAug 11, 2022
HRD Antwerp Is Bringing Back Its Jewelry Design Competition

The Belgian organization is calling for entries from all over the world, with an eye on attracting emerging talent.

ColumnistsAug 10, 2022
On Data: What We Know About Jewelry Sales So Far This Year

Sherry Smith digs into year-to-date data on lab-grown vs. natural diamonds, the performance of colored gemstone jewelry, and more.

EditorsAug 10, 2022
Take a Tour Through Buccellati’s Vintage Jewelry Collection

Associate Editor Lenore Fedow leads readers through the Italian jeweler’s works from the 1940s to the 2000s.

CrimeAug 10, 2022
Smash-and-Grab NY Thieves Flee with $2M in Jewels

The NYPD is still searching for the four suspects who robbed Rocco’s Jewelry in the Bronx.

Events & AwardsAug 10, 2022
JA New York Returns with New Designer Gallery

The jewelry trade show is taking place Aug. 14-16 at the Javits Center in New York City.

MajorsAug 09, 2022
Signet to Buy Blue Nile in $360M Deal

The jewelry giant said the acquisition will allow it to tap into a pool of customers who are younger, more affluent and ethnically diverse.

TechnologyAug 09, 2022
Tiffany & Co.’s CryptoPunk Pendant NFTs Are Sold Out

There were only 250 made available, selling for more than $50,000.

CollectionsAug 09, 2022
Cora Sheibani Shows a Magic Garden of Jewelry at Sotheby’s

The British-based Swiss designer’s “Pottering Around” collection is for sale at Sotheby’s East Hampton starting this week.

SourcingAug 09, 2022
Diamond Price List Introduces ‘Insights’ Platform

It provides real-time diamond market analytics.

SourcingAug 09, 2022
Grandview Klein to Donate Dialysis Machines to Namibian Clinic

The diamond firm will give the donation at a ceremony in Namibia this month during a trip for select retail jeweler partners.

CrimeAug 08, 2022
Nehal Modi Sentenced to 3-9 Years in Grand Larceny Case

He was convicted last month after falsely claiming he had a deal with Costco in order to obtain millions in diamonds from LLD Diamonds USA.

TrendsAug 08, 2022
Amanda’s Style File: Spicy Spinels

Tough, vibrant, and full of personality, spinel is a perfect birthstone for August babies, Amanda Gizzi says.

IndependentsAug 08, 2022
Gemist, NDC to Offer Custom Pieces by BIPOC Designers

Dorian Webb, one of the designers in the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative, will be the first to work with Gemist.

MajorsAug 08, 2022
Here’s How to Support Jewelers for Children this JFC Day

The charity will hold its fifth annual fundraising day on Sept. 24.

SourcingAug 05, 2022
Rare Earth Mining Co.’s Bill Heher Dies at 72

The passionate gem lover helped bring more than 300 different varieties of stones to the gem trade.

TrendsAug 05, 2022
Piece of the Week: Storrow Jewelry’s ‘Emblem Rosa’ Charm

The brand has attracted attention for its colorful, vintage-inspired pieces.

MajorsAug 05, 2022
Former Nike Executive Joins Team at David Yurman

Marcelo Tau is the company’s new chief operations officer.

Policies & IssuesAug 05, 2022
Satta Matturi Joins RJC Board

The jewelry designer founded her eponymous brand in 2015 after nearly two decades in the diamond industry.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy