On Saturday, May 19, with the eyes of the world upon them, Britain’s Prince Harry wed his American bride Meghan Markle in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. Glistening on the fourth finger of the left hand of the newest member of the royal family was a diamond ring that Harry had gave Meghan when they became engaged last November. At the time it was said that the prince had designed it himself.
Reportedly, the ring was created by Cleave and Company, the preferred jeweler of Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. Its center stone was what was described as a “ethically-sourced” 5-carat diamond from Botswana, which is where the prince and Meghan had first vacationed together. That was flanked by two round diamonds, previously set in a brooch that had belonged to Princess Diana, Harry’s late mother. The total carat weight was about 6 carats, and pundits put the value of the ring at about $350,000, although considering who was wearing it, it most probably could fetch considerably more on the open market.
The renewed fascination with diamond jewelry, referred to by some as the “Meghan Effect,” was good news for the British gem and jewelry trade, which had experienced a tough year in 2016, although also stabilization toward the end of 2017.
In fact, according to Euromonitor, British jewelry sales rose by 6 percent in 2017, with fine jewelry growing at a faster rate faster than costume jewelry. This, the organization said, was driven by an increase in the average unit price, as luxury brands began harmonizing their unit prices with those overseas, after the pound sterling had been pummeled in the wake of the EU Referendum. Additionally, the increase in sales to tourists, especially from Asia, with some flying into London specifically because of the weaker pound sterling, impacted positively on the value sales in the United Kingdom.
A poll conducted early in the new year by the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) indicated the stabilization of the British market only became evident toward the end of the 2017 Christmas season. Indeed, 98 percent of the retailers surveyed said that the expected Christmas rush occurred only in the last week. Diamonds were the most popular items being sold, and many said that customers were edging more towards more unique designs and fine jewelry.
Of particular note, those retailers with an online store told the CMJ pollsters that sales were better than 2016 and others said they were planning to get websites up and running for the Christmas 2018 sales period.
MID House of Diamonds is a major supplier to the UK diamond market, with its local offices situated Hatton Garden the heart of London’s Jewelry District. The company’s team can be contacted at tel: +44-207-404-6060 or email: [email protected].