Millennials rank natural diamond jewelry as the most desirable luxury item, according to survey results just released by the Natural Diamond Council.

When offered a list of nine luxury gifts and and asked to consider which they would most want to buy or receive if money were no object, millennials (currently aged 25–39) rated natural diamond jewelry ahead of clothing, cosmetics, electronics, handbag/accessories, perfume, shoes or a watch. The only luxury gift that rated higher than diamond jewelry for millennials was the only non-tangible item on the list — a vacation.

Most Generation Z respondents (currently aged 18–24) also preferred a vacation, but rated diamond jewelry as the second-most-preferred tangible item, just behind clothing.

Interestingly, natural diamond jewelry beat out the vacation category for two subgroups — females who recently purchased jewelry and males who recently received jewelry.

These findings were recently published in the “Consumer Insights Report on Diamond Desirability (US),” which was conducted online by 360 Market Reach in October 2020 and reflects the attitudes of 5,000 respondents. The study is keenly interested in the purchasing habits of millennials and Gen Zers because the two groups — while accounting for 38% of the adult population — are responsible for more than 60% of the demand for natural diamond jewelry. It’s also projected that their incomes, in real terms, are expected to rise by more than 70% in the coming decade.

According to the Natural Diamond Council, millennials and Gen Zers share a strong relationship with diamond jewelry. They see the diamond jewelry category as having lasting value, uniqueness, emotional connections and versatility. Exactly 70% strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that each diamond is “one of a kind.” And respondents also widely agreed that diamonds represent a symbol of love and exclusivity (68%), authenticity (65%) and rarity (57%).

The survey reveals that about half of all jewelry purchasers over the past 24 months have acquired natural diamond jewelry.

— Of that group, about 50% bought diamond jewelry to be worn personally. For these women, the key reasons for buying for themselves included the following: design (mentioned by 51% — they “found a piece of jewelry they really loved”), versatility (49% — “it can be worn and appreciated every day”) and long-term style and value (46%).

— 80% of jewelry purchasers have bought diamond jewelry as a gift. Key reasons for giving diamond jewelry as a gift included its long-term value (45%), the fact that it can worn every day (39%), the design “a piece that the recipient would love” (40%) and because diamond jewelry is “a perfect symbol of one’s love for someone else” (33%).

— About 25% of jewelry purchasers bought a piece of diamond jewelry “just because,” with no special occasion in mind.

Independent jewelry stores continue to be the preferred source for diamond jewelry (30%), followed by online (28%), national jewelry chains (25%), high-end retail stores (8%) and “other in-person” outlets (9%).

Interestingly, diamond jewelry purchasing has been favoring the earring category. Diamond earrings are the most popular category (28%), followed by necklaces (23%), fashion rings (14%), engagement rings (10%), wedding/anniversary bands (10%), bracelets (10%) and watches (5%).

The average price paid for diamond jewelry acquired in the past two years was $2,400, with male purchasers spending $3,000 and females spending $1,900.

The Natural Diamond Council pointed out that buyers require more than four retail touch points before making a diamond jewelry purchase. On the average, two of the touch points were in person and 2.6 were online.

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