One of the acts of genius of the De Beers advertising team that shaped the diamond market in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s was the way in which it was able to inexorably connect the concept of matrimony and diamond jewelry.
The world economy surges and recedes, with periods of rapid growth are followed by intervals of recession. But whether the stock market index is up or down, people get married. And when they do, invariably they buy diamonds.
According to De Beers’ most recent Insight Diamond Report, the traditional bridal segment currently represents about 27 percent of diamond sales by value in the main diamond consuming countries.
SHARE OF BRIDAL IN U.S. FALLS, BUT SURGES IN CHINA
The share of bridal jewelry in the United States, the world’s largest diamond market, is somewhat slower than it has been in previous years, but that is not the result of less matrimonial jewelry being sold but rather the result of successfully creating additional diamond-buying opportunities.
In the world’s second largest market, China, the share of bridal jewelry as component in general diamond demand has been growing. This, the De Beers report states, it is because the proportion of brides acquiring diamond jewelry is increasing in China, and there remains considerable potential for growth. At present about 47 percent of Chinese brides get married wearing diamonds, compared more than 70 percent in the United States.
Unsurprisingly, according to the De Beers report, Millennials and Generation Z consumers are the primary current and future purchasers of bridal diamond jewelry, accounting for about 75 percent of the value of such sales in the United States, and almost all such acquisitions in China.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN U.S. AND CHINESE MARKETS
But while diamond rings are the common denominator between the American and Chinese markets, there are notable differences between the two countries.
In China, De Beers reports, there is a very strong preference for solitaire rings, which make up 87 percent of all Millennial and Generation Z bridal acquisitions. The second most popular choice is a ring with a single diamond and other gemstones or pearls.
In the United States a wider range of styles is evident, with about 20 percent of rings dominated by a larger center stone accompanied by smaller side stones, and rings with a dominant central diamond in a “halo” setting.
Branded diamond bridal jewelry is more popular in the United State than China, accounting for around 67 percent of bridal acquisitions by Millennial and Generation Z consumers.
In China, approximately 47 percent of the bridal jewelry sold have a largest stone of between 0.14 and 0.49 carats, and, because of the popularity of solitaire settings, the total caratage tends to be the same. In the United States some 35 percent of diamond engagement rings have a largest stone of 1 carat or more, and the general preference for jewelry with multiple stones results in 57 percent of pieces having total caratage of more than 1 carat.
Round-cut diamonds to are most popular shape among bridal couples in both China and the United States, reported De Beers, accounting for 56 percent and 41 percent of sales respectively.
In China, the heart shape is the second most popular choice, while in the United States it is the princess cut.