Market Comment

January 26, 2023

News: Polished market selective as jewelers start to replenish inventory they sold during holiday season. Buyers lack urgency. Dealers uncertain amid slow demand and mixed price trends. Midstream inventory slightly down as polished production remains low. Rough supply has dropped due to Alrosa restrictions. Mountain Province 2022 sales +25% to $297M, average price +49% to $112/ct. India’s 2022 polished exports -3% to $22.9B, rough imports +4% to $18.5B. Luxury jewelers upbeat and expect China recovery to drive growth. Swatch 2022 jewelry and watch sales +2% to $7.8B. Birks Nov.-Dec. holiday same-store sales -3.2%. RJC appoints journalist and curator Melanie Grant as executive director.

Fancies: Fashion driving demand for elongated Ovals, Emeralds and Radiants. Goods with medium and short ratios are weak and declining in value. Slow market for 0.30 to 1.20 ct. diamonds. 1.25 ct. and larger, F-J, VS-SI categories stable. Supply shortages of well-cut fancies supporting prices. Oval is leading shape, followed by Radiant, Emerald, Pear, Cushion and Marquise. Retailers offering broader product ranges as consumers seek alternative cuts. Excellent shapes commanding premiums. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

Correction: US retail sales were flat for the full year, according to the Edge Retail Academy, not for the holiday season as reported in the video above. The company estimates sales were down approximately 9% in the fourth quarter.

United States: 

Some optimism ahead of the Centurion Jewelry Show (beginning January 28) and AGTA GemFair Tucson (January 31). Good traffic and positive sentiment at last week’s Miami Antique Show. Business is picking up, particularly for larger dealers and memo houses. Elongated ovals, 1 to 1.50 ct., F-H, SIs are hot, driven by retailers replenishing holiday inventory. Jewelers preparing Valentine’s Day promotions.


Sentiment weak with slow demand for this time of year. Small and mid-size dealers that supply commercial qualities note quiet trading. High-end robust after good 4Q for luxury jewelers. Positive reports from VicenzaOro show. Rough market stable but uncertain after De Beers price changes and with fewer goods available as EU considers next round of Russia sanctions.


Dealers are hesitant as they’re unsure which direction the market will move. Many are holding goods out of fear of losing money if the downtrend continues. Some expectation that China’s reentry to the market will push up certain categories. Buyers struggling to find goods they need. Fancy shapes selling well.  


Market is slow, with Chinese buyers closed for the Lunar festival. Manufacturers are cautious and maintaining low polished production. Inventory has declined and there are shortages in certain categories that are in demand, such as elongated fancies. Melee is strong but profit margins have shrunk after recent De Beers rough price hikes for the category. 1 to 2 ct., D-F, IF-VVS steady; lower qualities in that size very slow. Local jewelry business steady during wedding season.

Hong Kong: 

Wholesale market slow with most businesses closed for Chinese New Year. Tourist traffic from mainland improving since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted; Macau busy during Chinese New Year. Chinese and Hong Kong jewelers optimistic for 2023 after tough previous year. Rising demand for 0.30 ct., D-H, VS-SI diamonds.


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