The head of the Natural Diamond Council, a global trade group, sees China continuing to drive the world's diamond consumption on the back of its strong economic growth despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other factors that will stoke diamond consumption are China's rising middle-income shoppers and the emotionally more expressive younger generation of consumers who give gifts and have mastered the art of treating themselves well or tastefully, without being indulgent or crass.
The country's GDP growth of 12.7 percent in the first half of this year "formed a solid foundation for growth" for the diamond industry, said David Kellie, CEO of the NDC.
He forecast the diamond market to exhibit an optimistic V-shape recovery, meaning the global diamond jewelry is expected to reach the pre-pandemic level of 2019 in 2022 to 2023.
"We are glad to see the trend in China, and we expect to unfold more opportunities in China," he said.
As the world's second-largest diamond market after the United States, China's branded jewelry accounted for 15 percent of the entire market, reaching $100 billion in value, dispelling global economic uncertainties.
Kellie identified the super large size of the middle-income group in China, and the COVID-related cross-border travel restrictions as critical drivers of diamond consumption growth in the Chinese market.
To explore the favorable conditions in China, the NDC will join hands with renowned local jewelry brand Chow Tai Fook to launch educational campaigns on natural diamonds.
"We would like to leverage Chow Tai Fook's network of over 4,000 points of sale to reach a much wider consumer community even more quickly and deeply through our rich and enlightening content," Kellie said. "We are hoping that our collaboration with Chow Tai Fook will contribute to further market growth."
Kellie said the collaboration is in alignment with the council's overall strategy to promote the emotional value of the diamond, share the narratives on diamonds through social media channels, and partner with top jewelry retailers around the world.
According to data from the Shanghai Diamond Exchange, transaction value reached $3.82 billion in the first six months of this year, up more than 86 percent from the pre-pandemic level in the same period of 2019.
SDE data also showed that imports for net polished diamonds during the same period reached $1.58 billion, exceeding the import level of 2020, and up 49 percent from the first half of 2019. The exchange predicted China's diamond imports this year will surpass the previous record of $2.78 billion in 2018.
Lin Qiang, president of the SDE, attributed the strong rebound in diamond imports to "the quick recovery of the China's economy, specifically the release of consumption power (that was) restrained by the pandemic, and appreciation of the yuan, which offset the increase in diamond price in US dollar terms".
Another reason for the rebound in diamond consumption in China is the expanding Generation Z population who ascribe different values to diamonds and use more digital platforms to understand the products they buy.
"For one, luxury has become less elitist, less formal, and more accessible. The new consumer is seeking to understand more about the provenance of the purchases that they are making as well as the values of the product and the organizations producing them," Kellie said.