93% of U.S. jewelry consumers Love or Like ALL precious colored gemstones with sapphires being the most purchased colored gemstone by 46% followed by emerald (41%) and ruby (41%).
This research was conducted during the retail uncertainty of the COVID 19 economy. What we found with the 1,1000 jewelry consumers who completed the survey, was a greater interest in not just jewelry, but precious colored gemstone jewelry: rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Forty-six percent of the consumers in our study had purchased fine jewelry with sapphire in the past 2 years. Sapphire is by far the number one revenue generator for both manufacturers and retailers with rubies and emeralds next.
The 100+ retailers and manufacturers who participated in the trade study were asked about their last normal year of sales — 2019 and what they are projecting in the future. A large number of those who carry color say sales had been trending up between 2018 and 2019. For 92% of manufacturers and 75% of retailers, the margins are better. How much better? Generally, color brings in margins of 40% versus diamonds at 30% for manufacturers. For retailers, margin for color is 65% versus diamonds at 33%.
While not many consumers were familiar with the non-traditional colored sapphires like Fancy yellow and green, including Parti, a multi-colored gemstone, they were intrigued and wanted to know more. With the acceptance of these new colored sapphires by consumers and the fact that they are not available as lab-produced, may drive retailers to seek out jewelry suppliers who produce them.
Wedding combos of diamond and sapphire are gaining steam, especially diamonds with sapphire: 38% of consumers in the study said they would you choose or recommend an engagement/wedding ring with sapphire. Ruby was second at 27%. The addition of colored gemstones has brought “life,” to retailers’ engagement ring display cases to quote a consumer from Chicago.
Regarding country of origin, 42% of consumers were concerned with origin of the gems in the jewelry they buy while nearly half were concerned with worker treatment. Retailers and manufacturers don’t seem to care as much about the country of origin of the gemstones they buy; value is what’s important.
Concerning the path forward, retailers and manufacturers agree they don’t advertise color enough and they appear ripe for leadership and promotion of this promising category. Through targeted educational and sales training for precious color that retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers all said that they want, could be the key to keeping the sales growth going for all colored gemstones.