Japan’s polished diamond imports edged up in 2014, however, the quantity of diamond imports by carat has declined, according to data recently released by the country’s ministry of finance. Japan is one of the world’s four largest diamond-jewelry consumer markets.
In 2014, Japan’s gross polished diamond imports totaled $888.6 million, up 1.6% over the prior year. The average value of imports soared 31.6% to $489 per carat, as the volume of imports declined 22.8% to 1.8 million carats.
For many years, the country was the second largest market for polished diamonds after the US; however, in recent years the sharp growth of China’s middle class and its growing appetite for diamond jewelry propelled China to the second largest market. In recent years, Japan slipped to the fourth largest consumer market after India.
After a period of declining interest in diamond jewelry, partially tied with the end of generic diamond promotional campaigns in Japan by De Beers, Japanese consumers turned to diamond jewelry again in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami and the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.