What Are We Selling?

Two seemingly unrelated events illustrate a contradiction in the conduct of the jewelry business at retail and wholesale. One was the pronouncement by Nicky Oppenheimer that the diamond business fared reasonably well during the holiday selling season, despite the nervousness. The second event involved a customer in a jewelry store inquiring about the repair of a diamond wedding ring that had belonged to her mother. In his Christmas message to the trade, Oppenheimer again referred to diamonds as a "luxury product," stating that the diamond trade had fared well compared with other luxury products during the last eight weeks of the year. The notion that the industry sells luxury products seems obvious at first. After all, the products for the most part are relatively small and relatively expensive. As a result, we assume that they are of luxury status. But this focus on luxury status may

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