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What Is The Importance Of Jewellery In Asia?

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Jewellery has always been important in Asia as a landmark in life, for inheritance, as a store of wealth, as a symbol of femininity, status and wealth. Jewellery traditions varied across Asia. In Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Singapore, people primarily viewed jewellery as a store of wealth. In Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia the desire for adornment influenced jewellery wearing habits- so people buy a lot of small, low quality stones.

Muslim countries like Malaysia because the zakat, or Islamic wealth tax, did not apply to jewellery people bought expensive pieces. Jewellery designs in Thailand were beautiful and delicate, and used locally mined rubies, emeralds and sapphires. In the region women fell into one of two segments "modern" and "traditional" reflecting not age but attitude to life. The purchasing motivations of the traditional and the modern women were different, the former was more likely to buy gold or emerald, the latter was far more likely to buy diamond jewellery for her. Attitudes towards love, romance and marriage in Asia were also rather different.

In terms of volume women's self-purchase diamond jewellery accounted for up to 60% of total sales in every Asian country except Korea. In Korea 80% of diamonds were bought for weddings. Overall, penetration rates by 1998 were still not high except in Singapore where 54% of the target population (women over 18 years) owned a diamond. In Taiwan only34% of women targeted had a diamond. In the US and Europe ownership rates ranged between 70-80%.

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