Retail in Asia

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Shanghai crowned most expensive city for luxury jewellery in Asia

The Cartier Love Bracelet has been a benchmark to compare luxury jewellery prices across Asia. Made of 18K white gold with 204 diamonds, the bracelet’s price varies from one Asian cities to the other.

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The Julius Baer Wealth Report Asia revealed Shanghai to be once again the most expensive city to purchase the Cartier Love Bracelet, at USD 48,143.

High import tariffs on luxury jewellery were the main driver behind the exorbitant price. Conversely, Kuala Lumpur is the most price competitive at USD 41,818.

On average, prices in the region were flat year-on-year, although certain cities witnessed significant fluctuations.

Hong Kong saw the most significant price gain, whereas Mumbai experienced the biggest decline.

What is the justification behind the price tag of a luxury jewellery piece? A prestigious brand, the intricacy of the craftsmanship as well as the quality of the precious stones all enhance its desirability.

In auction markets, rarity and provenance stand out. Globally, Hong Kong is one of the top three jewellery auction hubs for Sotheby’s, driven by solid demand from Chinese HNWIs. Many mainland Chinese continue to invest in rare pieces such as top-of-the-line
diamonds, coloured gemstones and jadeite as part of portfolio diversification.

Noting the discerning taste of buyers across the region, Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman, Asia, and Chairman of International Jewellery, Mr Quek Chin Yeow says: “Asian buyers have always been focused on quality. They would rather have a 10-carat D-flawless diamond instead of a 20-carat F-VVS one. They go for quality instead of size.”

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Cindy Tang, Managing Director Senior Adviser at Bank Julius Baer, comments: “From our conversations with clients, high net worth individuals allocate part of their wealth to jewellery assets such as high-end diamonds.”

Nevertheless, caveat emptor applies. Returns from collectables may be hard to realise, while the market for precious stones is difficult to predict.

In conclusion, Asian buyers have proven to be a dominant force in the global high-end jewellery auction market. Remarkable auction results in recent years are testament to the buoyancy of the Asian market.

Luxury jewellery will clearly not be losing its lustre in the region.