Platinum in Fashion

Platinum jewelry demand grew in the United States in 2018, as younger consumers and male buyers responded strongly to marketing campaigns for the precious metal, the Platinum Guild International (PGI) reports.

U.S. sales among PGI retail members grew 11% last year amid strong growth in the bridal category, and the successful use of celebrities in advertising, cites the trade group. Sales for 2019 are expected to increase by 8% to 10%, with growth slowing slightly due to market uncertainty and volatility over US-China trade war.

Key world markets for platinum — the U.S., China, India and Japan — have experienced growth, and witnessed expanded platinum jewelry offerings beyond the metal’s stronghold in bridal, states PGI CEO Huw Daniel.

“Self-purchase is a key area for future growth around the world,” Daniel cites, “most notably in the United States — thanks to a strong economy, favorable metal price, and continuous marketing initiatives reminding consumers that platinum is the most secure setting for their prized gemstones.”

In fact, in just one year, PGI’s Platinum Born campaign has bolstered demand in platinum fine jewelry among female self-purchasers. “There’s room in the marketplace for beautifully designed, well made, price-friendly platinum designs,” says Jill Moynihan, marketing and communications manager for PGI-USA. She notes that more designers and manufacturers are exploring new ways of working with platinum, adding that versatility in design is the key trend.

To illustrate what’s possible, PGI has been showcasing jewelry in a growing collection of designs like diamond-cut platinum beads used in drop hoop earrings and flexible, multi-functional necklaces designed with magnets to wear in multiple ways. Lupita Nyong’o sported this type of necklace at the recent Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Los Angeles.

Moynihan hails platinum popular on the red carpet, with fashionable, young celebrities like Lili Reinhart and Selena Gomez adorned in platinum with diamonds and pearls, from sleek chic to Art Deco-inspired designs, with long statement earrings a favorite choice.

The use of color continues to be a trend in platinum jewelry, big in wedding rings. “Consumers continue to look for ways to personalize their jewelry purchases and set them apart from their peers,” says Moyihan. “One way to do this is by incorporating color stones into their engagement and wedding rings. Whether it’s a slight accent stone with a blue sapphire to represent a September wedding, or pave set gems on the inside of the band of the couple’s birthstones, color is a great way to add a personal touch.”

Colorful fashion jewelry set in platinum also is a popular trend, spied at the Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Moynihan cites rings as a clear standout on the pink carpet. Celebrities including Lady Gaga, Kylie Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Hailee Steinfeld, and Lucy Boynton showcased multiple rings ranging from dainty to bold. Lots of fancy color sapphires were seen, notably in shades of purple and pink, as well as ruby, emerald, pink spinel, rubellite, onyx, and rock crystal gemstones.

Samuel Sandberg president of A.Jaffe, New York says that while white gold remains the leading wedding ring metal, platinum continues to grow thanks to greater media exposure of the red carpet and celebrity weddings, as well as increased advertising and marketing by PGI and brands like his own.

Sadhna Venkat for MWI Eloquence, New York says her company continues to increase its platinum offerings and sales in bridal the past few years, with platinum a differentiating factor, particularly for for independent retailers. It’s a powerful message to have platinum involved as a component in the design, with PGI’s advocacy for platinum crowns in gold rings a winner.

Consumer research reveals that desire for platinum is high. Venkat says young consumers looking for tailored, elegant looks are gravitating to platinum. “They like the platinum story. Quality, strength and durability make platinum a great choice and value for consumers, and the incremental profits from platinum sales make it a very valuable product for retailers.”

The global jewelry industry is embracing platinum as an opportunity to attract a younger consumer to their stores, while delivering higher revenue per piece, which has resulted in significant distribution gains in 2018 that continue today.