Global jewellery exports gaining strength


India and China remain lead nations with values worth billions.

Figures for 2012’s global jewellery exports have been revealed, showing a growing global market that is beginning to gain footing following the worldwide financial crisis.

The figures, released at last month’s BaselWorld watch and jewellery show, are based on key jewellery-producing nations including China, Germany, Italy, Thailand, India and Hong Kong.

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India has maintained its position as the global leader in jewellery and gem exports, totalling US$38 billion (£25bn) in 2012, up 14% in terms of export volumes and holding its position as the world leader of the polished diamond market and diamond sales.

The Chinese jewellery industry is a growing contender in global jewellery exports, last year selling jewellery with a value of US$30 billion (£19.6bn), closely tailing India, with exports – mainly to Europe and the US – totalling $15 billion (£9.8bn).

Jewellery and gem exports from Thailand have also grown in the past 12 months, with Thailand becoming the world’s 12th strongest nation for gem and jewellery exports, with an industry that employes more than one million workers. Thailand’s total gem, jewellery and gold exports hit US$13 billion (£8.4bn) in 2012, with gold bars and silver jewellery its strongest exports.

Remaining in the East, Hong Kong has shown market resilience in recent years despite the global economic outlook. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) reported 14% growth in jewellery exports in 2012 with a value of US$6.8 billion (£4.4bn) in 2012, up 14.3% on 2011. The US and Europe remain Hong Kong’s dominant markets for finished precious jewellery, together accounting for 47% of its exports last year. Of note is the growing demand for Hong Kong-manufactured jewellery in Switzerland, with the country’s imports up 39.7% in 2012.

The Far and Middle East have also increased imports of Hong Kong jewellery, with Malaysia’s imports up 112% last year, India up 101% and the UAE’s imports totalling 85%, outlining emerging market demand for finished product, in particular white gold – the most popular metal export – and silver designs, with diamond the most popular gemstone choice.

In Europe the picture was mixed, with a slowing domestic market in Italy but growth in export figures for jewellery made in Germany and France.

According to data recorded by Club degli Orafi Italia, the research department of Intesa Sanpaola and Fiera di Vicenza, Italy’s jewellery sector showed only modest gains in 2012, almost wholly due to the increase in the price of raw materials. The domestic Italian market was also described as weak.

Italy’s jewellery sector turnover totalled €6.92 billion (£5.8bn) last year, 1.9% more than the €6.97 billion recorded in 2011. Its jewellery exports rose 10.9%, of which €4.81 billion worth was precious jewellery items, 11.4% more than 2011. However Italy’s poor domestic demand meant imports of precious jewellery dipped 5.4% in 2012, to €1.05 billion (£883m).

Italy’s data stated that the price of gold was a critical factor in the Italian jewellery industry’s performance in 2012. However, as was the case in 2011, Switzerland remained Italy’s largest market for jewellery in 2012, accounting for sales worth a total €1.22 billion (£1bn), up 2.4% on 2011.

The United Arab Emirates was Italy’s second largest export market, growing a notable 44.7% in 2012, with healthy gains recorded for Chinese exports, while Hong Kong and Germany were also growth markets for Italian jewellery imports.

In Germany, known for its gold jewellery production in Pforzheim and contemporary platinum jewellery brands, jewellery exports slowed in 2012. According to figures released by Germany’s Federal Office of Statistics and estimates by the BV Schmuck + Uhren Federation, German jewellery exports showed growth earlier in 2012 followed by a period of more cautious growth.

Germany’s full-year jewellery sales amounted to about €803 million (£675m) in 2012, reflecting a decline of about 5%, following growth of about 25% in 2011.

However exports showed positive growth, with last year’s figures for German jewellery exports up 5% totalling €1.1 billion (£925m), representing 5% growth.

In nearby France precious jewellery production grew by 7% in 2012, while the volume of costume jewellery produced in France was up by 2%. France is ranked ninth globally for gold and platinum jewellery exports, with figures up 22% in 2012 compared to 2011. It is also the third largest supplier of jewellery, in value terms, to the US and first to Japan.

This story was taken from the May issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue online, click here.

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