Downturn Dulls Gem Trade's Gleam

Effects felt worldwide as Americans stop buying bling
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2009 2:10 AM CDT
Diamond workers stand in queue to collect relief material distributed by their welfare association in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.    (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
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(Newser) – The worldwide slowdown in spending is making for rough times in all facets of the jewelry business, reports the Washington Post. More than a thousand jewelers in the US—which buys almost half the world's polished diamonds—have gone bust, and the effects are being felt from the mines of Botswana to the polishers in India.

In Gujarat, India, which processes around three-quarters of the world's diamonds, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs and the regional economy has been devastated. Jewelers in the US say consumers have stopped splurging on "just-because" items and business looks set to keep getting worse—although one jeweler says its purchases of used gold have gone up fourfold.
(Read more jewels stories.)