Jewelry has become China's third biggest consumer purchase after housing and automobiles, according to a top industry official. Sun Fengmin, Secretary-General of the China Gem Association, told a recent convention in Yunnan that China's total jewelry sales had reached US$12bn annually. State media reported that China was now the number one consumer of platinum, gold and diamonds. Jewelry manufacturing was gaining in importance with China consuming 250 tons of gold and processing about 3m carats of diamonds each year. China is also the world's leading producer of pearls, turning out more than 500 tons annually, or 90% of the world's total.