By Michelle Graff

Last week started out for me not at our offices at 770 Broadway in New York City but instead at the JA New York Summer Show at the Jacob K. Javits Center.

The show received pretty much the same reviews that the major jewelry trade shows have been getting all year long: It was good, given what was expected and the state of the economy, which is allegedly improving, according to a number of news reports.

I do think things are starting to loosen up a bit, but I also agree with those who say this recovery is going to be a slow one, and that this economic crisis is going to bring about a permanent change in consumer behavior. In other words: People are going to stop spending money that they don't have, and I think that is a good thing.

What is means for jewelry as a whole remains to be seen, but the truth is, things couldn't continue the way they were forever, with almost everything financed by money that simply didn't exist.

I think those who will survive are the ones who are forward thinking, those who realize what is going on right now and already are figuring out ways to change their business to change with the times, instead of getting left behind.

Speaking of being forward thinking, I attended the Simmons Jewelry Co. new line launch party, held last Wednesday in New York City.

One of the collections there that caught my eye was the stainless-steel women's jewelry, which fulfilled every need the jewelry industry practically cries out for these days.

It was fashionable, unique and, most important, priced right for these times.

There is one particular ring in this collection that I just have to have, and it retails for $125.Simmons Jewelry Co. ring

I'll spring for that, even though I'm as cash-crunched as anyone these days.

And, as always, I can't say enough about how much I admire what Russell Simmons' charity, the Diamond Empowerment Fund, aims to do for Africa and Africans.

'Tis true that this charity just returned from touring football star Reggie Bush and [insert own title here as to what you think this particular person is/should be known for] Kim Kardashian around Africa. You can see a video of their experience here on the DEF Web site.

One last thing...I hadn't had a chance to blog about this yet, but I attended a meeting two weeks ago at the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce regarding Sri Lanka, a beautiful-looking country by all accounts (or more like by the account of the tourism video they showed before the presentation).

The presentation basically was a pitch for companies to invest in doing business in Sri Lanka, including in the country's gem and jewelry industry, which is growing, according to this account.

Sri Lanka, now there's a place associated with the jewelry industry that I haven't had the chance to visit…

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