Diamonds Take a Hit in Hard Times

After years of booming business that made it the biggest chunk of the fashion market, top-end bling is feeling the strain of customers' scaled-back spending. And, as usual, the biggest victims are the little guys -- independent retailers and jewelers finding themselves at the mercy of recession-era thrift.

Becoming the largest piece of the fahion pie during prosperous years, the fine jewelry industry became the first lavish expense to be forsaken among the ranks of formerly indulgent consumers, and with the power of the venerated big boys -- Cartier, David Yurman -- now virtually saturating the market, smaller retailers are struggling to stay afloat. WWD reported recently that Chapter 11 is now sweeping through the ranks of acclaimed smaller brands, all the way up to Dunay. The shockwaves are palpable even here, where signs in the windows of jewelry stores from the Diamond District to Canal Street are offering deals and discounts.

So maybe this is the best time to start really pushing for that diamond after all? Heck, the livelihood of some jewelry store might even depend on it!

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