Jewelry in Central Europe: A nascent market spreads its wings (excerpt)

By Martin Berman-Gorvine
Diamond World Review, August-September 1996
The diamond and jewelry industries have faced an uphill battle in establishing roots in post-Cold War Eastern Europe. Living standards are generally low compared to the western half of the continent, and discretionary income to buy luxury products is correspondingly tight. Nevertheless, most agree, there is potential.
[N]umerous jewelry manufacturing and retail operations have spring up in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, in recent years. They are supported by a newly rich entrepreneurial class, which, though relatively small, is hungry for luxury items.
Often, though, the kind of jewelry on sale in Central Europe is not the same quality as what one might expect in the West. Diamonds, for example, are perceived largely as items for only the very wealthy. Mass marketing and ownership of diamond jewelry, as exists in the West, has yet to catch on.
"All demand from Polish jewelry stores is connected with the least expensive articles," said Tomasz Stecewicz, sales and marketing manager of Nordens Gold in Gdansk, a Polish company that exhibited at the Inhorgenta jewelry trade fair in Munich in February.
Demand for diamonds does exist in Central Europe, but it is a more exclusive market. "The diamond jewelry industry [in Hungary] is relatively limited, but there is growing demand," said László Szücs, of the Hungarian foreign service.
Original article copyright © 1996, International Diamond Publications Ltd.
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