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July 21, 2009

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Paul Riddell

It wasn't putting someone that age on the front cover. It was the fact that most of its subscribers were even older. As with journalism, the whole jewelry business is imploding: it's a combination of younger customers who realize that they can buy good and cheap on the Web and a refusal by jewelry stores to attract a new clientele. The fifteen-year push by DeBeers to flood the market with crappy diamonds (in a market where even exemplary ones have a horrible resale value) only made things worse.

As with any niche market, the magazines catering to the high-end jewelry trade are going, and they'll keep dying. After all, if your store or your chain (hi, Robbins Brothers!) is already facing cutbacks and layoffs, if not Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidation, it's pretty damn silly to buy a subscription to a magazine that's only going to push products for a clientele that can't afford that sort of luxury at the moment. Reading it will only make you angry, and you don't dare leave it where the customers can peruse it and realize that someone will sell those products at an even cheaper price than you. And don't get me started about trying to pry payment from advertisers who figured that they'll pay their bills from the huge influx of cash that's sure to come in once this ad campaign starts. If the push toward black or "canary" diamonds or "chocolate" gold (all real products) doesn't work, then guess who's going to take the hit when the advertisers disconnect their phones?

don't fear the reaper

dang, is that Sophia Loren or Jocelyn Wildenstein???

Paul Riddell

Oh, and an extra. My wife is a professional jeweler, and she wasn't surprised in the slightest when she heard the news. It turns out that Modern Jewelry had been leaning on various jeweler's suppliers to get copies out to their customers, and the suppliers went from including free copies at the front register to a free copy in the bag with each purchase. As with our local weekly newspaper, she figured that Modern Jewelry's motto should have been "If It Wasn't Free, We Couldn't Give It Away," as nobody in the business was dumb enough to pay for a subscription if they were going to get a freebie every time they had to order gold chain or purchase gift bags.

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