Fourth-Quarter Sales: Will the Good Times Hold?Ask jewelry manufacturers, wholesalers, and watch companies about prospects for the final quarter of 1998, and you’ll get a range of reactions, from guarded optimism to nail-biting uncertainty. One thing everybody agrees on, though, is that it will be hard to match last year’s record-breaking Christmas season.Orders were strong at jewelry shows through the first half of 1998, a period during which the stock market soared into uncharted territory. But in September, as this issue went to press, unprecedented volatility in the market contributed to growing uncertainty.At Ambar Diamonds Inc. in Los Angeles, co-owner Israel Itzkowitz reports sales up 15% for the first half compared to the same period in ’97. “Shows were wonderful,” he says. “People are buying. At the wholesale and manufacturing level, sales are very good. But how the

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