By  on May 19, 2008

NEW YORK — Top-tier jewelry companies aren't flinching in the face of the U.S. economic slowdown — and are proceeding full-speed ahead with their store expansion programs.

Chanel is the latest brand to open a well-appointed jewelry flagship to service its ultrawealthy clientele, joining the likes of De Beers, Graff, Cartier, Leviev and Bulgari in creating Manhattan showcases to opulence. And, despite seesawing stock markets, the weak dollar and the subprime mortgage crisis, the well-heeled show no signs of cutting back on jewelry purchases. In fact, they see the products as an investment, especially in a era of skyrocketing precious metals and gems prices.

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