MORE JEWELERS SHUT DOORS 
This month’s doom-and-gloom stat: The number of specialty jewelers in the U.S. fell by 211 in the first half of 2008, leaving 22,830 jewelers, according to JBT data. 
SOURCE: IDEX 07/21/08 
 
 
RENTS SLIDE AT MALLS 
This month’s “look on the bright side of things” stat: Rents at malls and lifestyle centers are sliding as mall vacancies hit a 13-year high.  
SOURCE: WALL STREET JOURNAL 07/21/08 
 
 
FTC RULES FOR ‘CULTURED’ 
The Fair Trade Commission has ruled that it is not deceptive to describe lab-made gemstones as “cultured.” The judgment was a setback for many of the jewelry industry’s biggest groups, including the American Gem Trade Association, Jewelers of America and the American Gem Society, which have sought to distance lab-made diamonds from natural ones.  
SOURCE: IDEX 07/23/08 
 
 
BARTERING IS BACK 
Fueled by the Internet, new tax laws and the economic slowdown, business bartering is enjoying a resurgence. About 450,000 mostly small companies now do business in bartering’s many networks of retailers, services and manufacturers. One of the biggest advantages for “small guys” is that such trade exchanges help them conserve cash while bringing in new customers. 
SOURCE: NEW YORK TIMES 07/17/08 
 
 
EBAY FENDS OFF TIFFANY'S 
EBay prevailed in its much-watched court battle with Tiffany & Co, as a federal judge said companies such as the New York-based jeweler are responsible for policing their trademarks online, not auction platforms like eBay. The jeweler had alleged that most items listed on eBay as genuine Tiffany products were fakes, damaging its name.  
SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS 07/14/08 
 
 
BURMA LOOPHOLE CLOSED 
President Bush signed into law a bill banning the import of all gems, including jade and rubies, originating in Burma. The law closed a loophole that had allowed most of that troubled country’s gemstones to be “substantially transformed” in countries such as Thailand before being re-exported to the U.S.  
SOURCE: NEW YORK TIMES 07/31/08 
 
 
A PROMISE REALIZED 
Remember the Lesotho Promise, the 603-carat boulder found in 2006 and picked up at auction by Laurence Graff for $12 million? The celebrity jeweler has transformed it into a monster 26-piece diamond necklace. Asking price? $50 milllion. 
SOURCE: RAPAPORT NEWS 07/15/08 
 
 
GAY MARRIAGE BOOM 
The California Supreme Court’s ruling in May to allow same-sex marriages has proved to be a boon to jewelers in the state, thanks to a rush by gay couples to get married. A UCLA study released in June estimated same-sex weddings would boost California’s economy by more than $680 million over the next three years. 
SOURCE: PALM SPRINGS DESERT SUN 07/15/08 
 
 
DE BEERS OPENS LABS 
De Beers opened its first diamond-grading laboratories — all in Europe — to support its aggressive push of the Forevermark brand. Forevermark diamonds will be inscribed with an icon and unique identification number after being graded.  
SOURCE: RAPAPORT NEWS 07/28/08 
 
 
THEN THERE WAS LIGHT  
Think the idea of diamonds as the ultimate symbol of love is profound? It’s nothing: Diamonds may have jump-started all life on earth. Two German scientists have come up with a theory that diamonds could have provided the electrical conductivity needed to charge the first chemical reactions in the primordial soup where life is believed to have begun.  
SOURCE: LIVE SCIENCE 07/26/08

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