CURRENCY PROBLEMS UNSETTLE INDUSTRY A new round of world currency fluctuations has put the jewelry industry in a spot. First, the rising Japanese yen sent pearl prices up 30% or more. Then, the free-fall of Russia's ruble caused some frantic gold, platinum and diamond sales. Now the devaluation of Mexico's peso has raised havoc, causing many of that country's jewelry retailers to close shop temporarily, dampening business for U.S. manufacturers who serve them. It has even started to cut into business for some U.S. jewelry stores with Mexican customers who cross the border to shop. Mexico's currency took a nosedive just before Christmas when newly elected President Ernesto Zedillo announced the peso would be devalued against the U.S. dollar. The peso lost nearly half of its value against the dollar; the exchange went from 3.4 pesos = $1 to about 6 pesos = $1 almost overnight. Soon a

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