|Clockwise from top left: Chow Sang Sang Infini Love rings. Chow Tai Fok's The Perfect One ruby ring. A Hotan jade pin designed by Wu Fenghua, owner and chief designer of Shenzhen-based jewelry maker TTF. A phoenix-shaped ear ring by Chow Tai Fok. A ruby necklace and ring set by TTF. A model presents a platinum necklace by Shenzhen-based jewelry maker EDL. [Photo / China Daily]|
Each year, Tina Yang, who works for a US consulting firm in Beijing, buys a few pieces of jewelry, from expensive diamond necklaces, platinum earrings to cheaper silver bracelets. "I do not care about the price. As long as it is within the affordable range, I consider buying it," says the 31-year-old Yang. "Just like different perfumes for different occasions, one also needs different jewelry to go with different clothes, which are not just decorative, but also exhibit the wearer's personality and temperament," she says.
Like Yang, many Chinese, particularly women, are wearing jewelry to look prettier or to flaunt their possessions. This growing appetite for jewelry has contributed to the continuous growth in jewelry sales in China, making it not only the world's most competitive jewelry maker, but also one of the largest jewelry consumers.
According to Gems&Jewelry Trade Association of China, sales of jewelry in the country reached 40 billion yuan ($6.33 billion) in 2011, an increase of 33 percent year-on-year.
Industry insiders believe that jewelry sales in the country will sustain this brisk pace of growth over the next decade, and jewelry will become the most sought-after possession after real estate and automobiles for China's growing middle class.
"With the surging demand for jewelry among its consumers, China is very likely to replace the United States to become the world's largest consumer market for jewelry by 2020," says Shi Hongyue, vice-president of Gems&Jewelry Trade Association of China. Jewelry consumption in the country has maintained a double-digit growth rate over the past few years.
Shi says that in developed countries such as Japan on average every person owns three to four pieces of jewelry. But in China, every 10 people own just one piece of jewelry, so the market potential is huge as Chinese get richer.
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