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Gold hits price high as jewellery sales slump

Sales of gold jewellery lost their sparkle in recent months after women bought fewer treats as the precious metal soared in price.

The amount of gold items authenticated by Assay Offices in the UK slumped 19.7% to 5.4m grammes in the first three months of 2011. The average size of an item of jewellery has shrunk over the past three months as cash-strapped consumers demand more affordable items. Prices have rocketed recently and this week broke through the $1,500 a troy ounce barrier for the first time as gold was seen as a safe haven for investors.