Jan 192011

This study was developed to enhance the understanding of the various levels of the retail market.

  • There are many markets available to the consumer for purchasing jewelry and gemstones at retail.
  • There are specific and stratified retail markets available to gemologists and appraisers.
  • This article covers High-End Guild stores, Kiosk jewellery sellers and everything in between.


Appraisers need to be able to identify the type of jewelry normally sold in these stratified retail trackable markets in order to place value on jewelry under consideration. The market or markets selected will depend on the “type of value and the intended use” of the appraisal.

The appraiser seeks the appropriate market level where sales involving similar items regularly occur, and uses that information to formulate sound appraisals with apposite values using either the “Cost Approach” the “Sales Comparison (Market Data) Approach” or the “Post Loss Assessment (Hypothetical ) Approach”.  By apposite value, we mean “The value which is pertinent and fully relevant to the appraisal assignment.”

The number of retailers listed below is not intended to be complete, but only to provide a list of recognizable names where available.

The numbering sequence used to list the markets is not an order of ranking, it is a chronological order of the various segments, and firms as listed with descriptions, that typify those market levels listed.  The readers will surely know others in their locale, perhaps those on a regional and national level.

National Jeweler Magazine listed the top thirty-five 100 Million Dollar Sellers in 2008. The order of ranking number is bold when used, where the bold numbers are not used the dollar volume was less then 100 Million or they were not listed in this issue of the publication.


  1. Ultra fine Guild or Provenance type retail jewelers.
  2. Well established, good public image type retail jewelers.
  3. Large, retail chain type jewellers, credit type jewellers with multiple U.S. locations.
  4. The jewelry Artisan / Jewelry Designer retail market.
  5. The competitive, independently owned retail jewellery store market.
  6. The highly competitive, discount type retail jewelry market.
  7. Department Store, leased jewelry departments retailers.
  8. Discount stored that have jewelry departments.
  9. Antique Dealers (second market dealers or previously owned jewelry) gem and mineral dealers, travelling jewelry show dealers, etc.
  10. International, national and regional Auction Houses.
  11. The Internet or electronic / Online Retail Jewelers.
  12. Warehouse type jewelry merchants
  13. Cruise ship sellers, foreign jewelers or resort type retail jewelry.
  14. Kiosk jewelry sellers.
  15. Pawn shops.
  16. Miscellaneous.

Retailers that sold $100m or more in jewelry and watches in 2008:

RETAILERS # locations 2009
1.Wal-Mart 4,105
Discount Store $ 2,900,000,000
2.Sterling Jewelers Inc. 1,401
Retail Jeweler $ 2,536,000,000
3.Zale Corp. 2,080
Retail Jeweler $ 2,138,000,000
4.Tiffany & Co. 76
Retail Jeweler $ 1,547,031,000
5.QVC 1
Multichannel Electronic Retailer $ 1,390,000,000
6.Sears Holdings Corp. 2,297
Department Store /
Discount Store
$ 940,000,000
7.J.C. Penney Co. 1,093
Department Store $ 925,000,000
8.Finlay Fine Jewelry 674
Leased Department /
Retail Jeweler
$ 862,600,000
9.Macy’s East 253
Department Store $ 560,000,000
10. Neiman Marcus 42
Department Store $ 550,000,000
11. Costco Wholesale Corp. 408
Warehouse Club $ 500,000,000
12. Target Stores 1,682
Discount Store $ 475,000,000
13. Fred Meyer Jewelers 386
Retail Jeweler /
Discount Store
$ 410,000,000
14. Helzberg Diamond Shops 235
Retail Jeweler $ 400,000,000
15. Jewelry Television 1
Multichannel Electronic Retailer $ 400,000,000
16. Macy’s West 258
Department Store $ 350,000,000
17. Tourneau 50
Retail Watch Store $ 350,000,000
18. Cartier 35
Retail Jeweler /
Watch Store
$ 335,000,000
19. HSN, Div. of HSN Inc. 1
Multichannel Electronic Retailer $ 315,000,000
20. Birks & Mayors Inc. 69
Retail Jeweler $ 314,745,000
21. Ross-Simons 14
Multichannel Retailer $ 300,000,000
22. Blue Nile 1
Online Retailer $ 295,329,000
23. Kohl’s Corp. 1,004
Department Store
$ 240,000,000
24. Ben Bridge Jeweler 76
Retail Jeweler $ 215,000,000
25. Shop NBC 1
Multichannel Electronic Retailer $ 205,000,000
26. Amazon.com 1
Online Retailer $ 200,000,000
27. Saks Fifth Avenue 53
Department Store $ 185,000,000
28. Meijer 185
Discount Store $180,000,000
29. Bidz.com 1
Online Retailer $ 177,089,000
30. Ultra Stores
Operating Under Chapter 11
Retail Jeweler $ 147,000,000
31. Gitanjali USA 147
Retail Jeweler $ 145,000,000
32. Army/Air Force Exchange Service 160
Military Base Exchanges $ 143,077,000
33. T.J. MAXX 875
Discount Apparel /
Accessories Store
$ 125,000,000
34. Goldenwest Diamond Corp. 18
Retail Jeweler $ 120,000,000
35. Robbins Brothers
Operating Under Chapter 11 
Retail Jeweler $ 103,700,000

Number of Units or Locations in 2009 17,880
Number of Units or Locations in 2008 17,735

2008 Total Retail Sales $ 20,979,571,000
2007 Total Retail Sales $ 21,853,558,000

Description identification and categorizing of the sixteen stratified retail markets listed below:


This retailer is normally located in upscale malls, and shopping centers or shopping districts in major cities and/or upscale communities.
Consumers who shop in this market segment are quality conscious individuals who appreciate and understand the prestige and pride of ownership when purchases are made in this guild and / or provenance market.

Guild and/or provenance type stores show their fine jewelry at major events such as: the “Academy Awards”, “Golden Globe Awards”, “Tony Awards” and other major show business and charity events as well as prestigious fashion shows, etc.  They produce television advertisements, fine quality magazine advertisements and catalogs that are well appointed, informative, glossy in nature with good color photographic reproductions.  These retail jewelers maintain the highest standards of quality, in Diamonds, Color, Clarity and GIA or AGS Cut Classes, Colored Stones, Pearls and Watches. The execution of design, construction and finish on the jewelry is of the highest quality.

Examples of guild or provenance type retailers include:

Overall Ranking

4. Tiffany & Co: 76 U.S. locations

U. S. Sales:
$ 1,547,031,000 in 2008
$ 1,734,139,000 in 2007
$ 1,560,930,000 in 2006
$ 1,220,683,000 in 2005
$ 1,063,892,000 in 2004
$ 1,169,244,000 in 1998

World Wide Sales:
$ 2,859,997,000 in 2008
$ 2,938,771,000 in 2007

18. Cartier: 35 U.S. locations

$ 335,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 350,000,000 Estimated in 2007

Van Cleef and Arpels: multiple worldwide locations, sales figures not available
Harry Winston: 8 worldwide locations, sales figures not available
Mauboussin: multiple worldwide locations, sales figures not available
Mouawad: multiple worldwide locations, sales figures not available
Chaumet: multiple worldwide locations, sales figures not available
Chopard: multiple worldwide locations, sales figures not available


This well established retailer may have one, to three or more store locations, many jewelers in this category are located in a freestanding building, or some form of common marketing operations such as shopping malls, shopping centers, strip malls or commercial neighborhoods, etc.  Although, not as prestigious as the retailers listed in category 1 above, these quality jewelers maintain a good public image and reputation within there communities. They have local, regional, and occasionally, national recognition.
They generally carry a range of merchandise which may not be limited exclusively to the highest quality of Diamonds, Color, Clarity and Cut Classes, Colored Stones, Pearls and Watches found in ultra fine guild or provenance type retail jewelry stores.

This level of retail jeweler is selling as licensees or distributors of major jewelry manufacturers and well-known designers and sometimes use newer designers and less well known manufacturers.

This market level depends upon marketing of traditional to popular, current, stylish jewelry; ranging in quality from ultra fine to medium quality. They offer special incentive type purchases and sometimes offers discounts. They also offer other promotions with “in-store” incentives and other type special events. Many offer “in-store” credit and use of major credit card purchases.

Examples of good public image type retail stores include:

Lux Bond & Green 8 locations
Peacock’s located in Chicago, IL
Tivol’s located in Kansas City, MO
Underwood’s located in Jacksonville FL
Levinson’s located in Aventura, FL

This market segment has many additional retailers whose profile would list them in this category.


The large retail chain type jewelers are generally located in well established malls and shopping centers with high traffic.  They are selling as licensees or distributors of major manufacturers and better known designers and sometimes they will sell jewelry by newer designers and less well-known manufacturers.

This market segment depends upon the marketing of traditional to popular current, stylish jewelry, ranging in quality from very good to price point quality.  They create demand through television, intensive advertising using mailings or providing inserts into the weekend newspaper as in the form of slick color advertisements. These advertisements are informative, glossy in nature, and have good color photographic reproductions.

Stores in this category offer special incentive type purchases and sometimes discounted items, such as 40% to 50% on occasion 60% or more off suggested retail prices.  Sometimes, this segment of credit or retail jeweler may realize as much income from extending credit and providing layaway facilities than the income realized solely from sales.  They usually offer deferred payments, and have promotions with “in-store” incentives or other special events.  Many offer “in-store” credit and all major credit card for purchases.

Examples of Retail Chain type, Credit type retail stores include:

Overall Ranking

2. Sterling Jewelers Inc. 1,401 locations including; Belden Jewelers, Friedlander’s Jewelers, Goodman Jewelers, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, J. B. Robinson, Kay Jewelers, LeRoy’s Jewelers, Marks & Morgan Jewelers, Osterman Jewelers, Roger’s Jewelers, Shaw’s Jewelers, and Weisfield Jewelers and all websites.

$ 2,536,000,000 in 2008
$ 2,705,700,000 in 2007
$ 2,652,000,000 in 2006
$ 2,309,000,000 in 2005
$ 2,130,000,000 in 2004

3. Zale Corp: 2,080 locations including; Gordon’s Jewelers, Mappins Jewellers, Peoples Jewelers, Piercing Pagoda, Zales Jewelers and all web sites. 2,350 locations in 2005.

$ 2,138,000,000 in 2008
$ 2,153,000,000 in 2007
$ 2,154,000,000 in 2006
$ 2,178,157,000 in 2005
$ 2,130,000,000 in 2004

14. Helzberg Diamond Shops: 235 U. S. locations

$ 400,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 500,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 520,000,000 in 2005

20. Birks & Mayors, Inc.: 69 locations

$ 314,745,000 in 2008
$ 294,282,000 in 2007

24. Ben Bridge Jeweler: 76 locations

$ 215,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 240,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 220,000,000 in 2005

30. Ultra Stores: 181 locations Operating under Chapter 11

$ 147,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 165,000,000 Estimated in 2007

31. Gitanjali USA: 147 locations

$ 145,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 180,000,000 Estimated in 2007

34. Goldenwest Diamond Corp: 18 locations including; The Jewelry Exchange, The Jewelry Factory, and The Jewelry Source

$ 120,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 155,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 133,000,000 in 2005

Sales figures of Retail Chain type, Credit type retail stores for 2008 & 2007:

Number of Locations: 4,207
Total Sales in 2008: $ 6,015,745,000
Total Sales in 2007: $ 6,392,982,000

This major market segment has many additional retailers whose profile would permit them to be listed in this category. We have listed typical examples of known jewelers that are usually listed in National Jeweler Million Dollar Supersellers 2009.


The jewelry artisan / jewelry designer retail market includes both designers with a National or International reputation and those with Local or Regional reputation.  The execution of design, construction and finish on the jewelry is normally of very high quality.  The use of gemstones, both in style of cutting and choice as well as the variety of material used, is often unique and distinctive.

1. The designers may be associated with some of the major jewelry firms.  They include, but are not limited to, personages such as Jean Schlumberger, Donald Claflin, Angela Cummings, Elsa Peretti, Pasquale Bruni, Rene’ Tostevin Page, Whitney Boin, Jane Taylor, and Paloma Picasso associated with Tiffany & Company.

2. They may also be associated with manufacturing jewelers such as Oscar Heyman Brothers, Hammerman Brothers, Carvin French, Casa Damiani and Mikimoto.

3. In addition, they may be individuals or companies with a single designer or a few designers such as Raymond Yard, David Webb, Henry Dunay, Paul Flato, Verdura, Marina B., Joel Arthur Rosenthal (J.A.R.), Christopher Walling, Barry Kieselstein-Cord, Elizabeth Gage, William Harper, Daniel Bush, Jean Francois Albert, Michael Bondanza, Michael Good, Cornelis Hollander, Richard Kimball, Christoph Krahenmann, Steven Kretchmer, Alex Sepkus, Robert Lee Morris, Cindy Edelstein, Cathy Carmendy, Robert Bruce Bielka, Jeffrey Pratt, Andre’ Ribeiro, Anita Selinger, and many others.

4. Finally they may be individuals who only create one of a kind pieces such as Andrew Grima, Kent Raible, Wendy Ramshaw, John Paul Miller, Luna Felix, Carrie Adell and Mary Lee Hu and others.

5. The artisan / designer market segment has many additional designers and firms whose profile would list them in this category.  We have listed some representative examples of well-known designers / artisans.

There are also many local and regional artisans / designers who are not as well known, but command high prices for their works as sold in their regional area.


These local area retailers are competitive, independently owned, retail jewelry stores. This market can vary from well established, easily recognized quality stores too small, family owned (mom and pop) type stores.  This marketplace is composed of independent, highly competitive, non-chain store retailers who maintain a full range of high, medium, and price point quality merchandise.  They sell frequently as licensees or distributors of major and less well know manufacturers, both jewelry and watch.

These stores are usually located in shopping malls, strip malls, commercial neighborhoods, shopping centers, or sometimes in freestanding stores.  This type store creates demand through advertising, and promotions with “in-store”incentives, such as special or unique services more suited to individually owned stores. Many of these stores offer “in-store” credit and use of major credit card purchases.

This major market segment has many retailers whose profile would list them in this category.


Jewelers in this marketplace are usually located in jewelry buildings, exchanges or other forms of common marketing operations. They are often characterized by handling high, medium to budget quality merchandise.  Some may have less well respected Diamond Laboratory Grading Reports and may be less accurately graded then GIA grade diamonds.

Most major cities have this type of discount marketplace in one form or another.  Consumers frequently shop in this market for “price”, they may not fully understand that possibly they are not purchasing comparable quality, color, clarity and cut as sold by other retailers in their locale.

In many circumstances consumers in this market have only one concern and that is the price of the item of jewelry.  This market tends to function on the bid / ask price principle and this principle is normally the driving force that makes the market a reality.

This market is typified by many well-known markets such as:

The 47th Street jewelry district in New York City
The South Hill Street complex in Los Angeles
The downtown jewelry district in Miami, Florida
and the many Jewelry Exchanges located in all major cities.


Typically, this broad spectrum of jewelers depend upon mass marketing of popular current stylish jewelry, ranging in quality from fine to price point jewelry, who creates demand through intensive advertising and promotions, primarily for credit card and store credit type purchases.

Examples located in Major Department stores in 2008 include:

Overall Ranking

6. Sears Holdings Corp: 2,297 locations

$ 940,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 1,050,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 1,050,000,000 in 2005
$ 1,000,000,000.00 in 2004

7. J.C. Penney: 1,093 locations

$ 925,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 990,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 1,200,000,000 in 2005
$ 1,100,000,000 in 2004

8. Finlay Fine Jewelry: 674 locations including; Bailey, Banks and Biddle, Carlyle Jewelers, and Congress Jewelers

$ 862,600,000 in 2008
$ 835,900,000 in 2007
$ 990,134,000 in 2005
$ 923,606,000 in 2004

9. Macy’s East: 253 locations

$ 560,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 500,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 350,000,000 in 2005
$ 350,000,000 in 2004

10. Neiman Marcus: 42 locations

$ 550,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 480,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 380,000,000 in 2005
$ 350,000,000 in 2004

16. Macy’s West: 258 locations,

$ 350,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 300,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 310,000,000 in 2005
$ 310,000,000 in 2004

27.  Sak’s Fifth Avenue: 53 locations

$ 185,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 200,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 175,000,000 in 2005
$ 175,000,000 in 2004

Sales figures of Major Department stores for 2008 & 2007:

Number of Locations: 4,670
Total Sales in 2008: $ 4,372,600,000
Total Sales in 2007: $ 4,355,900,000

This market frequently runs on trends, fashions and fads.


Typically, this broad range of discount stores depend upon mass marketing of popular current stylish jewelry, ranging from medium to price point quality jewelry.  They create demand through intensive advertising such as mailings or providing inserts into the weekend newspaper in the form of slick color advertisements.  These advertisements are informative, glossy in nature, and have good color photographic reproductions. Stores in this category offer special incentive type purchases and sometimes discount items, such as 40% to 70% off suggested retail prices.  They also offer deferred payments, and have promotions with “in-store” incentives and other type special events.

Many offer “in-store” credit and use of major credit card purchases.  This market frequently runs on trends, fashions and fads and normally target “budget minded” shoppers.  This type retailer may be housed in a freestanding building but is more frequently found in shopping centers.

Examples of Discount Stores on a national level include:

Overall Ranking

1. Wal-Mart: 4,105 locations

$ 2,900,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 2,800,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 2,700,000,000 in 2005
$ 2,600,000,000 in 2004

12. Target Stores: 1,682 locations

$ 475,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 460,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 415,000,000 in 2005
$ 400,000,000 in 2004

13. Fred Meyer Jewelers: 254 mall stores, & 132 other jewelry locations

$ 410,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 465,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 455,000,000 in 2005
$ 475,000,000 in 2004

23. Kohl’s Corp: 1004 locations

$ 240,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 240,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 200,000,000 in 2005
$ 175,000,000.00 in 2004

28. Meijer: 185 locations

$ 180,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 175,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 160,000,000 in 2005
$ 150,000,000 in 2004

33. T. J. Maxx: 875 locations

$ 125,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 120,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 120,000,000 in 2005
$ 110,000,000 in 2004

Sales figures of Major Discount stores for 2008 & 2007:

Number of Locations: 8,237
Total Sales in 2008: $ 4,330,000,000
Total Sales in 2007: $ 4,260,000,000

This market segment has additional retailers whose profile would list them in this category.


These traveling public show oriented retailers may not generally be as well established. They sell primarily at gem and mineral shows, expositions or at antique and other “collectible” sales oriented shows, regularly scheduled on an established circuit, repeating at least annually.

The dealers that typify this market deal in a full range of merchandise normally not sold on credit, except on major credit cards. They encourage after market sales by mail, phone and other general advertising techniques.

The Baron’s Antique Show, D. S. Clark Antique Show, Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, The International Gem & Jewelry Show, Gem & Mineral Club shows, etc. are a prominent example of this type of retailer’s locale.


These retailers range from the highly respected international houses of Sotheby’s and Christie’s to well known national and regional houses, such as Skinners, Phillips, Butterfield’s, William Doyle Galleries, Antiquorum, & DuMouchelle’s who typically obtain merchandise from the general public, as opposed to manufacturers.

They sell under particular auction rules normally to a highly select and well informed group of consumers, who at “pre-sale viewings” may well bring their own advisers or appraisers, normally no credit is involved, and the market is normally one involving resales.

This market segment has additional auction houses whose profile would list them in this category.


This segment of the industry is a thriving business today.  One can purchase unmounted Diamonds and Colored Stones, Diamond and Colored Stone Jewelry, Coins, Platinum, Gold and Silver Jewelry, Wristwatches and all types of other jewelry.

Examples of Internet or Electronic / Online Retail Jewelers include:

Overall Ranking

5. QVC: a multichannel electronic retailer

$ 1,390,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 1,500,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 1,400,000,000 in 2005
$ 1,200,000,000 in 2004

14. Jewelry Television: a multichannel electronic retailer

$ 400,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 480,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 390,000,000.00 in 2005
$ 327,000,000.00 in 2004

19. Home Shopping Network: a multichannel electronic retailer

$ 315,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 340,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 420,000,000 in 2005
$ 400,000,000 in 2004

21. Ross-Simons: a multichannel retailer

$ 300,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 340,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 300,000,000 in 2005
$ 275,000,000 in 2004

22. Blue Nile: Online retailer

$ 295,329,000 in 2008
$ 319,264,000 in 2007
$ 203,169,000 in 2005
$ 169,242,000 in 2004

25. SHOP NBC: a multichannel electronic retailer

$ 205,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 295,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 400,000,000 in 2005
$ 350,000,000 in 2004

26. Amazon.com: Online Retailer

$ 200,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 175,000,000 Estimated in 2007

29. Bidz.com: Online Retailer

$ 177,089,000 in 2008
$ 186,830,000 in 2007

Sales figures of Internet or Electronic / Online Retail Jewelers for 2008 & 2007:

Number of Companies: 8
Total Sales in 2008: $ 3,282,418,000
Total Sales in 2007: $ 3,636,094,000


This market segment operates in a warehouse type environment, lacking the decor and presentation of a jewelry store. Many times the consumer has to purchase a membership card in order to gain entry to this type location. Warehouse retailers present the impression that they buy in large quantities and therefore can sell items less expensively than an item purchased at a retail locale.  In foodstuffs this may be true, because items are offered in large size containers at reduced prices.  The same principle may apply to jewelry purchases. The quality of jewelry sold in this environment approximates price point jewelry.

Examples of this type marketplace include:

Overall Ranking

11. Costco Wholesale Corp: 408 locations

$ 500,000,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 460,000,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 425,000.000 in 2005
$ 400,000,000 in 2004

B J’s Wholesale Club, Inc.: sales information not available
Sam’s Club: sales information not available

This market segment may have additional retailers whose profile would list them in this category.


These retailers are normally only available to a select group of consumers who are traveling by ship or airline and who are either on business, vacation or some other normally happy occasion such as “honeymoon”, “anniversary”, and/or “birthday”, etc.   This market normally concentrates on medium to price point quality merchandise.  The consumers are told that their savings will be substantial and that they will also save on taxes and other incentives when purchasing outside the continental U.S.   Many of these cruise ship travelers are directed to “cruise line preferred” jewelers for purchases where consumers are told by “port callers”, that they will be buying at substantial savings from that asked by U.S. Jewelers, perhaps as much as 40% to 50% or more.

These “port callers” are cruise line employees who are often compensated by the cruise line’s preferred jewelers. These stores cater to the consumer who frequently buys “promotional” and/or “emotional” appealing items on impulse. Many times when these consumers return to the U. S., they get buyer’s remorse and often start to question the validity of the purchase.


This segment of the jewelry market is located in booths at shopping malls or other locations with high traffic.   Typically, this marketplace depends upon mass marketing of popular, current, stylish, inexpensive price point jewelry, which has been advertised by other firms to create the demand.  These kiosk’s “piggy back” on this advertising. Most sales are made with cash or credit card purchases.  This market of medium to lesser quality price point jewelry frequently runs on trends, fashions and fads and appeals to a mall type of shopper.

This market category has many additional retailers whose profile would list them in this category.


The pawnshop retailer market is an active business today. The old days of a dingy, dusty pawnshop is essentially gone. Today’s modern shops are normally clean, efficiently run, and vary from the chain store type, to one to three stores, to single store locations.   These stores want to loan money on jewelry items, because they get substantial interest on a monthly basis, and, if the loan is forfeited, they now own a piece of jewelry they paid less than or near liquidation value for, and can now sell at discount retail.

Examples of this type marketplace include:

Cash America (Chain type)
Cash Inn (Chain type)
Cash Solution (Chain type)

This market segment has many additional pawnshops whose profile would list them in this category.


Although not belonging to a trackable category or market segment, as in examples 1 through 16, there are many other types of retail sales, such as mail order, semi-retired jewelers, jobbers, and eBay etc.

Overall Ranking

32. Army / Air Force Exchange Service: Military Base Exchanges 160 worldwide locations

$ 143,077,000 Estimated in 2008
$ 154,443,000 Estimated in 2007
$ 120,000,000 in 2005
$ 101,309,000 in 2004

Footnote: It should be noted that many retailers might deal in several of the above STRATIFIED MARKETS simultaneously. Neiman Marcus for example realizes substantial income form catalog sales, on-site department store sales, mail order sales and possibly auction sales. Any of its sales may be for check, credit card and/or cash. Many other similar examples exist in each listed category.

Joseph Tenhagen – Miami, USA.  January 2011


Photo credits:
Jean Schlumberger Butterflies – www.ameinfo.com
47th Street –  www.nydiamonddistrict.com
Sears – www.tgtoday.com
Pawnbroker sign – www.guardian.co.uk
All other images are credited to the companies the presented in the image.

Disclaimer: The AIJV blog is authored by a selection of AIJV members and guests specifically to be able present many different viewpoints on a large variety of subjects. The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily those of the AIJV.

Note: Joseph Tenhagen sadly died a few years ago. Few Appraisers researched the market in such depth, but if you are wishing to make enquiries on this subject, you may wish to find suitable experts on Jewellery Appraisers of the World:
Jewelry Appraisers in the US
Jewellery Valuers in the UK
Jewellery Appraisers in Canada
Jewellery Valuers in New Zealand
Appraisers from Australia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Puerto Rico, Singapaore, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland, can be located from the JAW homepage

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Joseph Tenhagen (Dec)

Sadly, Joe passed away in 2013. Joseph W Tenhagen FGA, GG, is an AIJV member in Miami, Florida, USA. where his jewellery appraisal practice is based. Joseph is a published author in many gem and jewellery magazines in the United States of America and was the publisher of "The Diamond Value Index."

  15 Responses to “Retail Jewelry Market Analysis”

  1. Wow. I cannot imagine how much time and work this research took Joe. Congratulations, it is a major resource for anyone interested in Market Levels etc.

  2. One of the most comprehensive analyses of the market I’ve read yet. It certainly reflects the level of research thats required by professional valuers in order to do our day to day job. Also emphasises the importance of using an independent whenever possible. Thanks for writing this and well done.

  3. What a detailed commentary on the range and size of the US jewellery market! Joseph, perhaps you could explain to someone who operates in a much smaller market environment (NZ population is 4 million) the practical mechanics of an appraisal based on this data. Lets imagine it is a standard insurance appraisal assignment. Do you look at the subject piece and decide which of the markets is the most appropriate and the most common for the type of piece? Or do you find out how the clients insurance company is likely to replace under the terms of the policy and select the market most suited to those terms? For example, in New Zealand insurance companies replace through traditional retail outlets and so for insurance valuations we are obligated to value for that market level, even if the item was purchased online. This has the unfortunate side-effect of making the client believe they have done better with their purchase than they in fact have. Or do you value to the market level that the client would want to replace in?

    • Paul I am more concerned with the type market the jewelry is normally purchased in.

      I will use that market for my appraisal

      Joe T.

  4. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

  5. i have been googling for hours on jewelry retailer market analysis. So far this article is the most comprehensive and informational. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Wow. I cannot imagine these shop industry is an dynamic business. I think many people interested to research modern stores and find out how the customers provided to change under the conditions of the plan and choose the industry most suitable for those terms..

  7. Hi Joe. Thank you for the great analysis. I agree with an earlier post that this was the most comprehensive one I could find on the industry. One question, the sales numbers you have listed for the larger non-jewelry specific retailers (such as Walmart or Neimans) are those figures just their jewlery sales in 2008? Thanks in advance for clarifying.

  8. Joseph,

    are you available to conduct a paid market analysis on specific jewelry and markets? please let me know of you you have contacts who are experienced and can do market analysis projects. I am a Trade Commissioner for a country looking to have an analysis done and they have asked me to locate a consultant or industry expert


  9. This is great information on the Jewelry Industry – thanks for sharing with the masses. I am working on an education project to refine lists for some of the 16 categories defined. Any suggestion on additoinal sources that I can seek out specifically for the fragmented space, Mom ‘n’ Pops, independently owned stores and kiosks? Thanks again.

  10. 10.

    V ery good analysis and an expert view of empirical study of jewellery market.
    This good information enriched me, though there are many books on that, but
    this piece of informtion gives the entire spectrum of functioning of retail jewellery.
    thank you.

  11. amazing stats ,really helps and gives you an insight to the size of the retail size ,wish we could look through some more recent numbers to estimate the growth and size of the us market

  12. great job a very detailed info of the industry,wondering where I would get a more recent sales nos and figures

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