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August 26, 2009 / Monsieur D

Hallmarking figures show UK platinum bridal jewellery sales recovering

Good news for platinum bridal sales as recent hallmarking figures show increase in production.

Worn by royalty and favoured by celebrities, platinum’s purity, rarity and enduring qualities ensured it appealed to generations of consumers who wanted to own the very best. In the UK, platinum became a statement of quality and the metal of choice for wedding and engagement rings, sales of which soared.

In July 2008 metal prices had peaked at $2,182 per troy ounce, expensive for jewellery. Consumers, despite retaining their aspirations for platinum, were forced to settle for lower priced white metal alternatives. Better news for brides when, towards the end of 2008 prices finally softened. But the price spikes combined with the UK’s economic crisis had impacted jewellery industry confidence, and limited the consumer’s willingness towards significant purchases.

However the welcome and encouraging figures in for the first half of 2009 give every indication that platinum bridal sales are showing signs of a recovery. With platinum prices remaining steady, and the premium between a platinum and 18Kt gold wedding ring as little as £250, the cost for this rare and precious metal is very appealing to the bride and groom who want the ultimate in rings. UK hallmarking figures have shown an increase in the number of pieces of platinum jewellery being submitted, and this is borne out by a large number of London’s Hatton Garden retailers, who have renewed confidence in their platinum sales, after very positive first half figures;

Jason Hirsh of Hirsh jewellers who also have a store in London’s Burlington Arcade states; “We have seen our bridal sales increase considerably from last year, and around 98% of the engagement rings that we sell are in platinum.” Nicholas James’, Nick Fitch confirms this; “We have always had a large platinum offering (accounting for over 80% sales) and our sales remain strong. Interestingly now we recently have seen a move toward higher value platinum engagement rings in spite of the economic climate.”

Wedding ring manufacturer B & N Rings, have seen a definite increase in their platinum ring sales year on year as retailers restock. Sales director Gary Williams, explained ”More couples are prioritising their wedding ring spend, they see their rings as a symbol; they mark the day and are something couples will have with them every day afterwards.”

This view is shared by UK multiple retailer of the year, Beaverbrooks, reporting an increasing focus on the bridal rings which has helped keep platinum sales on-target. Jeremy Smith, head of marketing at Beaverbrooks, explains “People are still getting married and bridal couples are not prepared to cut costs or quality when it comes to their wedding and engagement rings.”

With value in the UK currently a watchword, more thought is being given to what the consumer takes with them from the wedding day. Good news indeed for platinum bridal jewellery sales which look set to continue growing, delighting both consumer and retailer.

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