New Madison Avenue Jeweler Evades a Quick Close

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Photo: Courtesy of Dalyah

With Tiffany floundering and other high-end jewelers resorting to sales, the recent unveiling of high-end diamond boutique Dalyah on Madison Avenue raised a few eyebrows — including those of the company's own board of directors, apparently. After a much-hyped launch party on March 26, we stopped in a couple of weeks later and were told by designer Dalyah Duek-Flaks that the store would be closing at the end of the month. The board of directors — a group of four international partners that includes Duek-Flak's father, Protea Diamonds head Moshe Duek — were spooked, she said, citing the exorbitant rent (stores on Madison Avenue pay between $1,200 and $1,500 per square foot on average, she says) and lagging sales. "When we signed the lease in August, everything was looking positive," she said, "but within a few weeks, the demons started popping up. The directors were debating whether we should open at all or if it would be better to cut our losses." Dalyah's large diamond and colored-gemstone pieces range from $2,000 to over $100,000. "People were scared to walk in because it's expensive," she sighs.

But when we checked back this week, Duek-Flaks reported that the board has since reconsidered and will allow the store to remain open, a decision partly due to a spate of high-profile press, as well as newly launched discounts on Dalyah's spring cocktail rings. "At this point we just want to get our name out there," says Duek-Flaks. "We've decided to give it shot. They haven't killed me off yet."

Dalyah, 625 Madison Ave., at 58th St.; 212-575-5511.