Diamond jewellers have started to shift their focus to China as global demand hits new highs. Global sales are estimated to have reached US$79 billion last year, according to a new report from De Beers, the world’s largest supplier of the precious stone. China’s market share is predicted to grow to 25% in the next decade probably overtaking the USA as the single largest market.

Sales of polished diamonds in China grew 14 per cent last year, although this is down on the 20% or so growth in previous years, possibly as a result of the government’s crack down on corruption.  Chinese diamond traders report that the government move may have negatively affected the sale of bigger diamonds, although the slowing economy may also have influenced overall demand.

According to the De Beers survey, covering 10,000 women in urban China, 48 per cent said that fine jewellery was one of their most prized possessions. There is still plenty of room for growth in diamond sales in China as only 20 percent of urban dwellers there own the precious stone compared with 70 per cent in the United States.