THE PINCH

Diamond Industry Teeters

The economy is teaching many a practical lesson: There are better ways to spend your money than on a new piece of bling. Across the country, well-established jewelry vendors are seeing fewer clients with money to burn come through the doors. Manhattan mega-jeweler Tiffany's said its profits dropped 75 percent in the fourth quarter. Overall, more than 1,000 jewelry retailers have been forced to close up shop nationwide. And the issue is not just domestic. The diamond mines where the jewels are extracted—places notorious for poor wages and inhuman working conditions—are also struggling. Botswana, a country dependent on its diamond mines for much of its economy, is hurting after four major De Beers mines were put on hold. In India, there have been reports of several suicides over the loss of jobs in the mines.