Thursday marked the official launch, in Shanghai, of Gemfields’ first-ever consumer insight report into the state of coloured gemstones in China. Held at The Punch Room of the Edition hotel, the event was attended by 18 high-profile members of the Shanghai media and key opinion leaders in the world of jewellery. The feedback from the audience was hugely positive, backing up our report’s conclusion: that China is a market ripe with opportunities for us.
Amongst those in attendance in Shanghai were editors from Tatler, Grazia, Elle China, Modern Weekly, LUXE, Noblesse, Apex Manual, The Paper, Modern Weekly online, IDEAT, itTime, Netease, Fashion Trends Digest and Rapaport; while the report was unveiled, they were treated to a feast of beef tartare, lobster salad and chocolate truffles. Beijing media – including Bazaar Jewelry, China Daily, xbiao.com, Comfort and BQ Weekly – were invited to watch the livestream of the event; this got almost 11,000 views, with several viewers and attendees posting about it on their WeChat.
Entitled Sustainability: The Future of Coloured Gemstones in China, the report made clear the growing enthusiasm for coloured gemstones that exists amongst Chinese jewellery owners, with 35% of them saying they plan to purchase rubies in the near future, and 25% saying the same about emeralds. To gauge the appetite for coloured gemstones in different demographics, the study spoke to Chinese consumers from different regions, cities and levels of affluence, to gain a clear and thorough picture of consumer preferences.
What emerged was a population very excited about rubies and emeralds. What perhaps thrilled us most was that 97% of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay a premium for gemstones that had been responsibly mined. All participants ranked social responsibility and environmental factors somewhere between “slightly” and “very” important when selecting coloured gemstones; and this concern was especially prominent in younger shoppers.
Given how seriously we take responsible sourcing at Gemfields, this trend towards conscious consumerism was music to our ears – and proof of the sophistication of the Chinese market. Further proof of this was the report’s finding that Chinese jewellery owners overwhelmingly care more about the gemstone itself – its cut, colour, clarity, carat and unique character – than about its price.
We were thrilled to share our research with people in China today, and we are excited about what the future holds for the coloured gemstone industry in that country.