Change Afoot for U.S. Jewelry Manufacturers

The number of U.S. jewelry manufacturers has declined 25% over the past 10 years, according to Jewelers Board of Trade statistics. "These numbers are simply a reflection of the impact of consolidation at the retail level and increased competition, especially in low-value goods such as costume jewelry, where much of the production has moved offshore," says Dione Kenyon, JBT president. Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA) cites U.S. trade policy as a major cause of the decline of U.S. jewelry manufacturing jobs and market share, according to its report titled Fair Trade and the U.S. Jewelry Industry: A Strategy for Manufacturers to Compete Globally in the 21st Century, published in 2004. MJSA findings show that fine and costume jewelry imports rose sharply between 1977 and 2001. In 1977, imports amounted to just 6% of the American market for precious jewelry and 10% f

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