Editor’s View: The UK jewellery industry should prepare for the ‘Meghan Markle effect’

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As Prince Harry has officially announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, the jewellery industry should keep a close eye on the American actress’ jewellery choices.

The Royal Family announced the news this morning, with social media and media outlets going crazy for the royal proposal. And of course, most of us are all waiting to catch a glimpse at the ring the Prince has placed on Meghan Markle’s finger.

Speculations say he has designed a bespoke piece using stones from Princess Diana’s jewellery box, but the details of the ring are still very much under wraps.

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Celebrity engagement rings have always caused a spike in sales for stores and brands stocking doppelgangers – and even today Princess Diana’s engagement ring, which is now worn by Kate Middleton, still influences bridal sales.

But, when Prince William proposed to Katle Middleton, it wasn’t just jewellery inspired by the engagement ring flying off the shelves, but anything and everything the Duchess of Cambridge wore dominated sales in the fashion market.

While the Kate Effect has slowed down somewhat now, although clothes spotted on Prince George and Princess Charlotte still sell-out quickly, experts predict the Meghan Markle effect will rake in millions for the British economy as the actress could spark a surge in the sales of the jewellery and clothing she wears.

David Haigh, chief executive officier of Brand Finance, told news.com.au: “Although it is difficult to speculate about numbers, it can be expected that Ms Markle will join the Duchess of Cambridge as a great ambassador of the monarchy, especially in her native United States and in Canada where she has recently lived.”

While the’ Markle Effect’ is expected to peak now it’s official the Suits star will be marrying Prince Harry next year, it has already began, and the jewellery industry has already benefited.

For example, when Meghan Markle wore a ring by Missoma, the British jewellery brand witnessed a significant surge in sales, and the company had 5,000 visitors to its website within hours of the photographs of Markle wearing the rings being published.

While it is unknown how much Meghan Markle will be in the public eye leading up to the big day, one thing’s for sure is that many women will be after the jewellery pieces she steps out in. From the all important engagement ring, to the jewels she wears in the official engagement photos and beyond, she’s certainly a celebrity the UK industry should be aware of as her style is likely to influence consumers for the considerable future.

“We haven’t seen Meghan’s ring yet, but she is and will increasingly become a style icon for our generation,” says 77 Diamonds managing director, Tobias Kormind. He continues to tell Professional Jeweller. “When Meghan’s future sister in law Pippa Middleton got engaged, we received eight calls within 24 hours from engaged couples asking for appointments to come into our Mayfair showroom to see her style of ring. In my view, Meghan’s ring will shape bridal sales in the months and probably even years to come.”

By keeping an eye on what she wears and what consumers are copying, jewellery brands and retailers can highlight pieces in their windows, and place them in a prime position online as a way of capitalising on the inevitable fashion boom. The start will be Meghan Markle’s engagement ring, but this certainly will not be the end.

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