Retail sales of diamonds in China topped $300 million during the first half of 2009. This made China among the top 3 biggest diamond consuming countries of the world.
According to the Global Times, China is the only country where the demand for diamonds has been on the rise despite the current recession. This is despite the fact that the diamond industry, is among the hardest hit industries due to the recession. During the same period the import volumes of diamonds to the USA and Japan had dropped by 49 percent and 24 percent respectively.
According to the Gem and Jewellery Trade Association of China (GAC), the annual consumption of diamonds in China has exceded 25 billion yuan. This figure is also growing exponentially, at this rate China is expected to catch up with the US and may even become the next biggest diamond consuming country soon.
According to a researcher at the center for Luxury Goods and Services (SITE)-University of International Business and Economics, Wang Fei, the rapid growth of the diamond market is due to both supply and demand factors.
The younger generation of Chinese citizens account for most of the diamond consumption. Gone are the times when diamonds were a luxury rarely owned by a Chinese family. Diamonds are now a must for Chinese newlyweds. According to Wang Fei, newlywed couples born in the 1970s and 1980s account for most of the diamond consumption. This is followed by couples who were born in 1960’s, since they are precently wealthier and more financially capable than they were two decades ago.
The younger generation of Chinese are also influenced by western lifestyle and culture where diamonds are seen as the most important symbol of love and loyalty. Many Chinese are also buying diamonds for investment purpose, this is especially important during an economic downturn when currencies can depriciate very rapidly.
Unlike their western counterparts, the Chinese consumers are ignorant of the pricing systems and basic methods of evaluation of diamonds such as the 4c’s (cut, color, carat and clarity).
Diamond jewellery brands which are popular in Southern China include the Boee Jewelry and Diamond Charm while in Northern China Caibai Jewelry is popular.