By Michelle Graff
London--“Mounting conviction” in the economic recovery and lower prices helped boost U.S. demand for gold jewelry to its highest level in five years, the latest report from the World Gold Council shows. 

The WGC’s Gold Demand Trends report for the third quarter shows that gold jewelry demand increased 4 percent year-over-year in volume terms. In value terms, demand was up 1 percent even with stable prices. 

Year-to-date, U.S. gold jewelry demand has risen 12 percent in volume terms as compared with the first nine months of 2013 but is down 6 percent in value terms on lower gold prices. 

The WGC said the “ongoing revival” of gold in the U.S. jewelry market is due to a number of factors, including an increasing belief among consumers that the economy is getting better, which has boosted discretionary purchases. In the third quarter, sales of higher carat and non-wedding gold jewelry bolstered overall demand. 

Lower prices also have helped. 

The price of gold shot up during the economic downturn as investors rushed to sink their money into the metal, with the yearly average peaking at $1,669 an ounce, graphs from show.

In 2013, the gold price started dropping; the cumulative average for the year was $1,411 and it is $1,276 to date this year. 

The lower gold price allows retailers to either meet key price points without sacrificing margin or increase karatage while maintaining price points. This has enticed some mass-market retailers to begin stocking gold again, which “bodes well for the seasonally strong fourth quarter,” the WGC said. 

Globally, demand for gold jewelry was down 4 percent in volume terms, as markets like China and India failed to meet the same high levels of demand seen at this time last year, and 7 percent in value terms. 

The gold price was as stable as it’s been in two decades, the WGC said. This is expected to continue into the foreseeable future for both gold and silver, analysts said earlier this year.

In the third quarter, this stability was both the cause and an effect of the “benign” demand environment globally: the lack of movement in the price caused investors to hold back from buying gold which, in turn, put a damper on price moves. 

Gold averaged $1,281.90 in the third quarter, down 3 percent as compared with the third quarter 2013. The price differential in gold between the third and second quarters (when it averaged $1,288.40) is less than 1 percent.  

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