Over the past decade, China has become one of the fastest growing markets for diamonds, marketing director of De Beers Group (Greater China), Christina Hudson, said.
De Beers expected its Chinese mainland business to grow 12 to 13 per cent in 2007 on strong demand, she said.
“When we started marketing on the mainland in 1993, diamonds had no emotional significance for mainlanders compared with jade and other jewellery”, Hudson said.
But tastes gradually changed over the past decade, especially when it came to wedding jewellery, she was quoted as saying by China Daily.
Last year, about 40 per cent of mainland Chinese women bought diamond rings for their weddings, taking company’s revenue to $1.7 billion, up 18 per cent from 2005.
“On the mainland, about nine per cent of women from urban districts own diamonds, but 80 per cent of them only have one piece,” Hudson said.
Director of International Markets at De Beers, David Rudlin predicted sales in the niche market would grow 14 per cent in the second half, and 12 to 13 per cent for the full year.
The average price per diamond sold was around $2,800 – about 3.5 times higher than the market average.
The Gem and Jewellery Trade Association of China predicted the overall trading value of jewellery in China could hit 200 billion yuan by 2010, which would make it the biggest jewellery market in the world.