By Brecken Branstrator
Seen here is a platinum ring from Berj Kouyoumjian Jewelry featuring a 5.16-carat emerald-cut diamond at center and two diamond baguettes weighing 1.36 carats.
New York--Despite a tough year for jewelry overall, platinum jewelry fared well in 2016, according to a survey done on behalf of Platinum Guild International.

The Platinum Jewellery Business Review is an independent study commissioned by PGI inquiring about the performance of over 22,000 retailers across four markets: China, India, Japan and the U.S.

The report measures consumer retail sales data of platinum jewelry in 2016 and projections for the coming year.

While gold jewelry demand suffered a bit in 2016--decreasing 1 percent in the U.S. and 15 percent worldwide--platinum’s performance was “more nuanced,” PGI said, ranging from a contraction in China, moderate to strong growth in Japan and the U.S., to very strong growth in India.

Platinum jewelry sales in the U.S. were up more than 5 percent last year, marking the 4th consecutive year of sales growth for jewelry made in the precious metal.

Manufacturers and retailers attributed the growth in their platinum business to its favorable pricing relative to gold, PGI said. (According to Kitco, the cumulative average per-ounce price of platinum last year was $988.74, while gold’s average was $1,250.74).

Demand for engagement rings and wedding bands--the primary opportunity for platinum jewelry sales--also is up not only among independent jewelers but for majors as well.

And according to another survey, conducted by MVI Market Research, 77 percent of retailers reported that their 2016 platinum sales were the same or higher than the prior year.

The retailers surveyed also said they see platinum as a key differentiator in their markets and that stocking platinum jewelry helps attract a new customer base to their stores.

PGI CEO Huw Daniel said, “Platinum’s relative strength in challenging market conditions is rooted in the unique space that platinum occupies in the jewelry category, bought more for its emotional meaning, and less for wealth preservation and transference. Increasingly, the jewelry industry sees platinum jewelry as a differentiated margin driver that has a distinctive role within their business portfolios.”

PGI also said it expects a good year for platinum, with growth expected to be in the range of 5 percent to 7 percent, on the back of new marketing initiatives and a continued focus on platinum education for technical and sales associates fueling growth for the fifth year.

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