May 25, 2018 / 11:03 AM / 10 months ago

RPT-Meghan Markle makes gold sales sparkle

 (Repeats for wider distribution.)
    By Renita D. Young
    NEW YORK, May 25 (Reuters) - The Meghan Markle effect has
spread to yellow gold jewelry, helping boost United States sales
in the first quarter of 2018 with further gains expected,
jewelers said.
    The first three months of the year were the strongest first
quarter for gold jewelry demand in the United States since 2009,
according to the World Gold Council. Sellers say that is due in
no small part to the public's fascination with American actor 
Meghan Markle, who was engaged to Britain's Prince Harry last
November and who married him in a dazzling ceremony on Saturday.
    Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, favors yellow gold. 
    “Around that time (of the engagement), we started seeing
more sales of yellow gold and the last couple months it’s
increased more," David Borochov, of New York-based R&R Jewelers,
said on Thursday. “Yellow gold jewelry sales have risen about 30
percent this year.”
    For the last 15 years, white gold, silver and platinum have
been the metals of choice for jewelry and couples tying the
knot, jewelers said. Over the last few years, rose gold has
become a favorite, while yellow gold was considered outdated.
    Borochov said he typically sells about 70 to 80 percent in
white gold and platinum, and 20 to 30 percent in yellow and rose
gold. He expects the latter to increase.
    “We saw an increase of about 20 percent (in yellow gold
jewelry sales) from the beginning of the year,” said Nerik
Shimunov, owner of Crown Jewelers in New York, which specializes
in custom jewelry pieces for celebrities. 
    Meghan and Harry told the BBC in November that yellow gold
is her favorite; her engagement ring is set in that metal.
    Gold jewelry sales at Chicago-based Daniel Levy Jewelry
increased by 10 percent after the engagement, “primarily because
of the surplus of white gold,” said Daniel Levy, though he noted
a recognizable shift to yellow gold.  
    Celebrity purchases influence jewelry sales, said Alistair
Hewitt, the World Gold Council’s director of market
intelligence. Council research from 2016 found that 22 percent
of U.S. women buying jewelry or luxury fashion were inspired by
magazines and newspapers, with another 11 percent citing
influence from celebrities.
    “It would not be surprising to see the coverage of the royal
wedding – including the choice of engagement ring and wedding
band – influence shoppers’ behavior,” he said.

 (Reporting by Renita D. Young in New York
Editing by David Gaffen and Matthew Lewis)
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