Jewelry District takes an economic hit

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES They say diamonds are forever and some jewelry store owners say that's about how long they're staying on the shelves.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch the accompanying video to this story.

"People are not buying they are just looking," said Morris Massaband.

Massaband owns M & D Jewelry and he says in 28 years business has never been this bad. His shop is at the St. Vincent Jewelry Center.

A year ago this place would be crowded even on a weekday. Lately they have had only a few customers.

"The everyday small jewelry stores are hurting because of the economy in general. Gold prices are obviously up so that kind of jewelry is hard to sell," said Peklar Pilavjian from the St. Vincent Jewelry Center.

To give you an idea how much prices have changed -- a bar of gold that weighs 770 grams a year ago would have cost about $5,000; in today's market it would cost $15,000.

But with the economy in bad shape and gas at $4.60 a gallon, jewelry is a luxury some simply cannot afford.

Ramin Zar is a jewelry wholesaler and he says business is down 30 percent.

"It is going to hurt everybody. It is already hurting everybody. If they are not doing business then they are not going to buy from us. It is not going to go as we planned. It is very difficult," said Zar.

Wendell and Nancy Bennett did buy something on Wednesday. They bought a new ring for their 10th anniversary. They say it's a special occasion so they didn't think about the money.

"I have wanted this for awhile, but unfortunately the time in terms of the economy and buying something like this, we just put that aside and went for it," said Nancy Bennett.

Jewelry store owners say unfortunately there aren't enough customers like the Bennetts. The next few months could be very difficult for the industry. They hope for a good holiday season.


Click here for more headlines from ABC7 Eyewitness News

Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.