April 20, 2009 / 8:59 PM / 10 years ago

Timely exhibit attempt to lure jewelry buyers

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - An exhibition of luxury watches opening this week will attempt to lure cash-strapped buyers back into jewelry stores to boost sales.

The exhibition, called “Time and the Jeweler’s Art”, by the National Jewelry Institute runs from April 24 to June 27 at the Forbes Galleries in New York and includes watches studded with diamonds and made with platinum, gold and stainless steel.

“There are watches that are aspirational, but others that are affordable too,” said Judith Price, president of the National Jewelry Institute, which organized the exhibit.

Although the prices of the items were not given, most of the items were high-end watches by luxury firms such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, Piaget and Valentino.

As part of the event to boost sales, some jewelry retailers are offering discounts at certain stores.

Sales at retailers ranging from mid-priced Zale Corp to the more upscale Tiffany & Co have suffered in recent months as shoppers hesitated to spend hard-earned money on luxury items such as jewelry.

Mounting job losses, tight access to credit and weak home values have not made things easier. During an economic downturn, the onus is on retailers to tempt shoppers into stores, according to Price.

“This is a reason for them to say ... ‘I’m going to try and make people feel good’ about buying jewelry,” she added.

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