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As platinum prices hit all-time highs_ how can jewellers still

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As platinum prices hit all-time highs_ how can jewellers still Powered By Docstoc
					Max Platin

Circle Sun platinum hoop bracelet set with 30 navette-cut diamonds. The diamond setting is removable so it can also be worn as a brooch

Henrich & Denzil

Platinum bracelet set with 15 brilliant-cut and 15 baguette-cut diamonds. Platinum ring set with pavé diamonds

Uber luxe
The price of platinum jewellery has been rising on a weekly basis, causing some concern within the industry. “The price of platinum has been going up so fast, we’re quoting people prices for platinum wedding bands on a Saturday and saying we can’t guarantee the same price on Monday. Last week, we had to raise the price of all our platinum items by 30%,” says Adam Lawrence, manager at Anthony Gray in London’s Hatton Garden. Selling platinum jewellery under such price pressures and fluctuations can be a challenge. “We advise our customers to put down a deposit, which will secure a price on a platinum ring,” says Paul Henderson of Wave Jewellery, which has five stores across the UK. “And we tell them that it could mean a big saving because of the way platinum prices are going up. It does help to make a sale.” This month, the Platinum Guild International (PGI) has released an open letter to the jewellery industry explaining the reasons behind the sharp price rise (see page 88). However, Ruth Donaldson, UK manager at the PGI, says retailers should not assume that the new price points will force customers to turn to white gold. “The high prices do not make a difference to consumers making their first ever engagement ring purchase, who are unaware of how platinum prices have shifted,” Donaldson maintains. “For women, platinum is still an emotionally led purchase. Platinum has a perception as being the best, which drives consumer desire.” If a retailer is going to profit from such perceptions, a good range of jewellery in platinum should be in stock for the consumer to experience. It is important for customers to be

As platinum prices hit all-time highs, how can jewellers still attract customers for this most precious of metals? Sarah Carpin looks at how platinum can still be a strong seller
able to pick up and try on a piece of platinum, says Donaldson. “From looks alone, there is no major difference between a platinum and a rhodium-plated white gold engagement ring. The unique selling point is about the feel of the metal on the wearer,” she says. “We have also found in consumer research, that retailers who have platinum displays in their stores are considered by consumers to be more credible and expert than those who do not. If there is no platinum there to interact with, the consumer can only rely on the word of the retailer as they can’t experience the metal firsthand,” she adds. The PGI also advises retailers that the instore service customers receive should motivate customers to invest more in a piece of platinum jewellery. “It is always worth remembering that a significant number of consumers are willing ‡

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Schmuckwerk

Platinum tendril ring set with brilliant-cut diamonds

PLATiNuM	TreNDS

Niessing

Lines platinum wedding bands featuring an unusual textured surface

Fillner

Viola platinum ring set with an oval kunzite

Henrich & Denzel

Meridiano bangle and ring in platinum and pavé diamonds

August Gerstner

Moebius platinum ring featuring brilliant-cut diamonds and a silky matt finish

Henrich & Denzil Christian Bauer
Platinum wedding bands. The bride’s ring is set with brilliant-cut diamonds

Amilla in platinum and diamonds is beautifully engineered, creating a very flexible bracelet

PLATiNuM	TreNDS

“Platinum is perceived as being the best, which drives consumer desire”
Rouge Amour necklace by Georg Spreng

Michael Weggenmann

Wedding bands set with white diamonds for her and black diamonds for him

to spend more if they receive a platinum level of service, increasing their budgets by as much as 100%,” Donaldson adds. “A platinum service may include home visits, bridesmaid’s gifts or, in one instance I heard of recently, the retailer read a story to the couple’s children while they decided on their rings. The better the service, the more consumers associate it with premium prices.” “The truth is, I wish I didn’t have to sell white gold for bridal collections,” confided one UK jeweller who was looking at new platinum jewellery collections launched at the Inhorgenta show in Munich. “Customers often come back to us complaining that the gold has tarnished or scratched – you just can’t better platinum. And if they really can’t afford it, then there’s always palladium.” Other jewellers, however, report that the high prices have not deterred customers from buying platinum jewellery at all. “What we are seeing is that people who want gold and platinum are paying the prices,” says Richard Slack, managing director of Clive Ranger. “There could be changes in the design, such as having a 2mm band instead of 3mm if people want to save money, but

Platinum selling points
Platinum is 30 times more rare than gold and if no new sources of platinum are found there may only be around ten years left to mine in South Africa. The metal is white through and through and its lustre lasts forever – it never tarnishes, never becomes dull and never wears away. The process from mining the ore to pure platinum finished metal can be broken down into 150 steps and takes nearly six months. More than 99% of the mined material is discarded: 300kg of ore mined yields just one gram of pure platinum. Fewer than 90 tonnes of platinum jewellery is made each year, compared to more than 2,000 tonnes of gold jewellery. Platinum can also be seen as an ecofriendly metal as it is an essential element of catalytic converters in cars.

Bunz

Platinum ring set with contrasting white and coloured diamonds

what we tend to find is that when things become higher in value, people want them more.” Mike Jones, chief executive of Platinum Group Metals in South Africa, agrees: “You really have to wonder whether platinum jewellery has reached the ‘Gucci bag effect’ where the more they charge for it, the more people like it.” And with some stunning platinum collections launched this year, the choice for über luxe, designer jewellery is as high as the price.

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