The Lap of Luxury

What a difference a year makes! After the last 18 months of retailers’ paring down inventory, vendors were back to writing orders and attendance was up 20 percent at the 2010 Luxury by JCK show. High-end firms have felt the pinch of the bad economy as much as the rest of the jewelry industry: The number of wholesalers and manufacturers has dropped 4 percent in three years, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade.But in June, sales reports were upbeat among many of the 130 exhibitors. On day two of the show at the Venetian, Chad Allison staffers boasted that they had the most packed appointment book ever at a show, and Steven and Richard ­Billig, owners of S & R Designs, of Marlton, N.J., dished on some of their more impressive show orders, including 24 new agate and 18k gold styles retailing for $2,000 apiece.Parade Design displayed intricate 18k gold and gemstone crown rings ins

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