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Jewelry was the standout in America’s holiday shopping season

Jewelry had a surprisingly strong holiday shopping season in the United States, beating all other categories in sales growth, according to MasterCard.

“This year, if [consumers] couldn’t buy a new home or a new car, the thing that they bought immediately was some jewelry,” Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors, told Quartz.

Overall, US holiday spending rose 2.3% from last year, the biggest increase in three years. But many types of goods were flat compared to 2012. Jewelry and children’s apparel made the difference, MasterCard said.

The US is the largest jewelry market in the world. “It’s an investment, I think is the way to think about it,” Quinlan said. “People are looking for something that doesn’t wear out. I think that’s the new spending post-recession.”

Online jewelry sellers were also better prepared for customers this year, according to Quinlan; 7.6% of jewelry is now bought online. On Amazon, the most popular piece of jewelry over the holiday shopping season was a pair of amethyst earrings that currently costs $55.

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