By Michelle Graff
Consumers went for higher-carat gold jewelry in the first quarter, the latest report from the World Gold Council shows. These rings by Nada G are 18-karat and are available in white or yellow gold, with white or black diamonds.
London--Demand for gold jewelry in the United States continues to inch up just a bit every quarter, the World Gold Council’s Gold Demand Trends report for the first quarter shows. 

U.S. demand for gold jewelry rose 4 percent to 22.4 tons in the period, up from 21.5 tons in the first quarter 2014, the fifth quarter in a row that demand has increased. 

Specifically, U.S. consumers continued to go for higher-carat jewelry but were cautious in their spending.

The WGC said while gold jewelry imports to the U.S. also increased in the first quarter, a sign the trade is stockpiling for sales in the second half of the year, the general mood is one of guarded optimism, with a mix of factors coming into play. 

The report states of the U.S. market, “Rising household wealth and economic growth provide support, but conservative consumer attitudes toward spending and a general lack of innovation in the design and market are potential headwinds.” 

A market where jewelers struggled for years to sell gold, especially during the economic downturn, the U.S. has seen jewelry demand increase year-over-year in eight of the last 10 quarters, with the only declines coming in the third and fourth quarters of 2013. 

It was a “pocket of strength” in the first quarter, a quarter in which global gold sales fell and one that was “generally quiet” worldwide for gold demand as a whole, the WGC said. 

Globally, demand for gold--counting jewelry, technology and investment sectors--fell 1 percent year-over-year in volume terms in the first quarter. 

Demand for gold jewelry was down 3 percent, including a 10 percent drop in China where buying for the Chinese New Year was “restrained,” the report states. 

The average price of gold was down 6 percent compared to the same time a year ago, dropping from $1,293.10 to $1,218.50 per ounce, but is up slightly from the fourth quarter when it averaged $1,201.40 an ounce.  

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.