Memorial jewelry sales soar after memorial service

WASHINGTON — Memorial jewelry and other pieces of jewelry are surging in demand in the wake of the death of a friend in a car crash, suggesting consumers are still in mourning over a life that was taken by an accident, analysts said Monday.

The spike in demand was driven by the arrival of remembrances of loved ones, the resurgence of jewelry that was never intended to be worn, and the rise in prices for precious stones, analysts at Fitch Ratings said in a report.

The spike is the latest indication that the public is looking beyond the physical items they remember and is paying more attention to the sentimental and the cultural items that are associated with them, said John W. Anderson, senior economist at FTSE UK.

“People are not so much looking for the perfect piece of jewelry or the perfect gift, they’re looking for something that’s sentimental,” he said.

It is also the latest sign that the economy is recovering after a decade of recession.

Last week, the median price of a necklace rose 4% on a month-to-month basis.

The median price for a necklace is $5,300.

That is up 6% over the past year and a half, according to the latest data from the National Retail Federation.

Even with the spike in sales, most people aren’t willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a piece of memorial jewelry, said David B. Wertheimer, senior vice president of investment strategy at Banc Capital Markets.

People are spending less money on things that are just sentimental and not really meaningful,” he added.

Fears about a new recession have prompted people to hold onto pieces of clothing, furniture, and other items, but the trend is turning to pieces of memorials and is also a reflection of people’s growing attachment to their loved ones and a need to keep the memorials strong, said Wertheim.

Many people have been drawn to a collection of rememberers and memorial items that were intended to stay with them through the death and the loss of loved one, said Brian C. Riedel, chief investment officer at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Memories are now seen as a way of honoring a person or a place.

As memories fade, so do the value of a piece.

They become a piece with no intrinsic value,” he explained.

Retailers are seeing increased demand in jewelry that is not meant to be bought as a piece, said Richard W. Rupprecht, senior analyst at Fidelity Investments.

But they also see a need for a collection to help pay for funerals and other memorial items.

If a person dies, the person’s belongings become increasingly valuable, Ruppregt said.

They can be a way to preserve an item for a person they know well, and to remember them for the person they knew in a positive way.

We are seeing the beginning of the end for the memorial market, said Ruppret.

This is a time of mourning, so there is a sense that people are trying to find ways to make a donation, he added, noting that the demand is higher than it was just a few years ago.

I think that this market is in a state of shock, he said, but it’s also a time for people to come together, which is really good.

There is a real sense of purpose that has developed and a desire for something to keep alive in their lives.

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Memorials are not a new market, but they are becoming more and more prominent.”

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