Faded Glory, Shifting Sands

I recently had time to wander about the center of the diamond and jewelry business in New York, the 47th Street area. Not that I have not been there innumerable times over the years, but this time I stopped to chat with some street-level shopkeepers. It is hard to miss the obvious—many booths in the exchanges are vacant, and the assumption is that it reflects the current slowdown in the economy; or perhaps it is another developer assembling properties for redevelopment into major new office buildings. Both assumptions are true, but they do not tell the whole story. As one vendor explained, the current slowdown has only accelerated the departure or closing of many factories in the area. He used to rely on all the workers in the factories to buy from him. Now many of those floors are empty. He also saw sharp declines in buyers from suburban areas. The rise of jewelry exchanges in the s

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