Just this week the U.S. government released jewelry store sales for the month of December 2011, in which data revealed an 8 percent year on year increase to $5.717 billion. But unfortunately, the jewelry consumer price index (CPI) was also up 8 percent. December's jewelry store sales followed a very poor performance in November when sales were flat. U.S. jewelry stores sales for the full year 2011 rose 10 percent year on year to $29.56 billion, according to the government, while the CPI also rose 10 percent due primarily to high prices of gold, silver and diamonds.
Jewelry sales increases were stronger than the rate of inflation for the months of April, May, June, August and September, but lower for January, February, October and November. Furthermore, as diamond import and export statistics showed for the year, polished diamond imports jumped 20 percent to $22 billion, but polished exports surged 29 percent to $18 billion, leaving only $3.9 billion of polished diamonds to circulate and that figure represented a 9 percent decrease from 2010.