As the Platinum Guild International tries to stem the decline in Chinese demand for platinum jewellery, the industry body is fretting about what Sibanye-Stillwater’s takeover of Lonmin to create a new power in the sector will mean for its marketing effort in the world’s most important platinum jewellery segment. In the face of stiff competition from white gold, which is an alloy of gold, nickel, silver and palladium — which is far cheaper than platinum, and the decade of subdued platinum prices — Chinese demand for platinum jewellery has waned, a source of profound worry for producers of the metal. China accounts for half the world’s demand for platinum for jewellery, which accounts for a third of the global consumption of 7.8-million oz of platinum.

At the Longjia Jewellery Exhibition Site in Shenzhen where platinum and gold jewellery is sold wholesale to retailers, the challenge posed by the latter is clearly evident. While the array of platinum jewellery beneath the long re...

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