Argyle’s Fate Could Affect Small-Diamond Industry

The Argyle mine may close by 2008, and some think the small-diamond industry will suffer as a result. Argyle is the main supplier to—and arguably the creator of—the Indian diamond industry. But without the mine's steady supply of small diamonds, the price of lower-end diamond jewelry could increase significantly. "If they close the mine, it will have a significant impact all the way down the supply chain," says Beryl Raff, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of fine jewelry for J.C. Penney. "I would assume prices will be impacted. "Executives at Rio Tinto, the mine's owner, say no decision has been made as to the mine's fate. But with its main pit depleted, the only option is to take it underground—and the company isn't sure that's economical. "We are hopeful we will have a good case, but we don't have all the information yet," said Keith Johnson, chief exec

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