Spending on fine jewelry in the UK is reportedly soaring despite the credit crisis, according to a report by consumer analysts Mintek.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the market for precious metal jewelry was worth £2.5 billion last year, up 7% on 2003 figures, with the growth driven by spending at the top end of the market.
Sales of items including rings and necklaces made of platinum, the most expensive precious metal, have risen 36% in four years to £75 million in 2007, it said
Although many families are tightening their purse strings with the rising cost of food and household bills, the report by Mintel forecasts a further 4% growth for 2008 alone.
Katrin Magnussen, Mintel's senior fashion analyst, was cited in by the Telegraph saying: "These days British shoppers are becoming more discerning about the jewelry that they buy and are now prepared to pay more for a really good quality piece that stands out from the crowd. This, combined with the fact that up-market jewelry is often bought for sentimental reasons, means that the market is likely to hold its own in these more challenging times.
"But all that glitters isn't gold - in fact it is platinum jewelry that is the real shining star. What is more, there is a real trend towards more original and distinctive pieces.
"There is a strong trend towards bold, individual pieces to express personal style and even bespoke pieces of jewelry are becoming more popular."
Mintel forecasts an 8% increase in jewelry sales over the next five years, with the market set to reach £2.8 billion by 2013.
Ms Magnussen said: "Long gone are the days of women having to hunt down wealthy men to get their hands on a nice trinket or two, as over one in five, 22%, of British ladies say that they are happy to treat themselves to precious metal jewelry.
"But men are also getting in on the action, as sales of men's jewelry soared 12% between 2003 and 2007 to reach £275 million last year or 11% of the total market."