China's demand for gold jewelry maybe helping to drive up prices. A woman looks at a jewelry display as she walks past a Bulgari store in Shanghai.
Gold fever returns
But the price increase hasn't yet hit the retail level -- yet
RISING prices on the precious metals market are not reflected behind the glass of Hawaii's jewelry retail stores -- yet.
The merchandise "was ordered way back in September or October, before the gold price went up," said Ted Gonzales, president of Pacific Diamond & Swiss Watch Exchange.
Consumers "are going to enjoy the benefit of me buying lower. It's a better deal for the consumer right now."
It's such a good deal that "margins are being squeezed," said Na Hoku President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Sultan.
Prices at his company's 30 Na Hoku and 32 Pearl Factory locations in Hawaii and on the mainland don't reflect the current market, either.
"Gold goes up really fast. We can't really raise prices that fast."
It's a cost issue, he said.
"I just can't afford to have people in my stores changing tags because they're so busy."
It's a bit of a double-edged sword, but Sultan says it's good to be busy.
"We're doing phenomenally well. I don't know if it's because people know gold is going up or because the economy in the country is so strong."
Prices will eventually go up, as jewelers buy at today's prices to stock store displays in the future, he said.