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Post-Recession Consumer Spending Targets "New Practical" Jewelry

Industry sources such as the National Jeweler say jewelers are having to re-configure their lines to meet the changing desires of consumers.

July 30, 2010 -- Changes in consumer spending indicate a trend towards less expensive but more exotic and practical jewelry purchases, according to the National Jeweler and other industry sources.

"Traditional" jewelers are reporting a demand for the more conventional cubic zirconia, alloyed metals and other less expensive materials - essentially, pieces that resemble traditional jewelry but without the high cost. However, more savvy buyers are choosing exotic and powerful options like titanium.

"Jewelers everywhere are doing it tough," says Eric Pless, of ( "Jewelry has always been a luxury item. Now, with the economic downturn, even jewelers who have been working with gold and platinum all their lives have to offer alternatives to stay in business."

Pless says that there is another option, apart from the extremes between expensive materials such as platinum and gold, and the ultra-cheap alloyed metals and gems.

"My favorite is titanium, because it is a precious metal without the absurdly high price of other precious metals like platinum and gold, and is better in almost every way."

Pless cites titanium’s advantages as being virtually corrosion-proof, attractive, lightweight, scratch resistant, hypoallergenic, versatile, extremely strong and durable, among others.

Part of the changes in consumer trends appear to involve more than just lowering costs. The trend also points towards fashion statements that avoid exuberant displays of wealth and instead highlight qualities such as pragmatism, uniqueness and smart choices. Pless dubs the cultural shift the “new practical."

For example, consumers can choose a black diamond titanium ring, for a practical yet boldly unique 21st century look. Other options for savvy engagement ring buyers looking to cut costs without sacrificing quality are to go with a well cut, high grade white sapphire, which looks identical and costs one tenth of the price of diamond.