Even in the current craptastic economic climate, it turns out that rich people are still rich. Yes, really! And they're spending lots of money on — what else? — bling. In fact, they see it as an investment since the prices of precious stones and metals are going up. While companies like Macy's and Liz Claiborne are losing money, companies like Chanel, Cartier, De Beers, and rare diamond seller Graff are plowing ahead with plans for retail expansion. Tomorrow Chanel will open a jewelry boutique on Madison Avenue with prices starting at just $1,450. However, the store will genuinely focus on "high jewelry" ranging from $150,000 to $2.3 million for the La Pluie Diamant necklace set with a 10.16-carat diamond. Graff, where the average sale is $400,000, is also opening a new boutique on Madison Avenue designed to mimic Coco Chanel's apartment in Paris. In addition to a paneled library, a fireplace with a selenite-crystal centerpiece, and Garouste and Bonetti lamps, the walls of its VIP room will have hand-stitched silk-tufted walls. WWD reports:
"When you talk about those consumers who can afford that price range, you can't really talk about recession," said retail consultant Dana Telsey. "They are looking for exquisite pieces all the time. There's not enough quantity at this quality."
Yes, they really are a deprived set.