What do you buy when you already have French suits, Italian leather shoes, a gold watch and your own car?

For China's growing upper class, it's platinum jewelery.That was the message at Da Ming, a glitzy new jewelery shop on Wangfujing, Beijing's main shopping street, when it opened on Christmas Day with a display of platinum rings encased by diamonds - at a cost of up to $1,150.

"Platinum appeals to a higher class of people, better educated, and the new rich who already have gold jewelery and want more," said the shop's manager, Chen Qiang.

He said platinum sales so far center on less expensive items that cost up to $230, still almost the average annual income for an urban resident of China in 1993.

The story is the same at the other jewelery shops that have sprung up on Wangfujing, in part to cater to people concerned their money will lose value amid China's high urban inflation.

"I like it because it is worth more than gold and because it is still exclusive," said a businessman in his 30s who was buying a platinum ring. "Many people do not know how valuable it is."