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Cheap sovereign rings and bargain-basement gold chains could well have had their day, as latest research from MINTEL shows that Brits are now splashing the cash when it comes to their jewellery. In fact, the market for precious metal jewellery was worth some £2.5 billion last year, up 7% on 2003 figures, with innovative designs proving to be the key trend helping to drive the market. And although many Brits may well be tightening their purse strings, a further 4% growth is expected for 2008 alone. “These days British shoppers are becoming more discerning about the jewellery that they buy and are now prepared to pay more for a really good quality piece that stands out from the crowd,” comments Katrin Magnussen, senior fashion analyst at MINTEL. “This combined with the fact that up-market jewellery is often bought for sentimental reasons means that the market is likely to hold its own in these more challenging times. “