By Michelle Graff
The year began with a bang--the merger of the country’s two largest specialty jewelers--and didn’t quit.

Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s acquisition of rival Zale Corp. was just the first in a string of mergers and acquisitions witnessed this year.

In other news, the issue of diamond over-grading exploded, diamonds continued to do well at auction--as did one particular watch--and the industry said an unexpected good-bye to one legendary designer.

Click through this slide show to recap the year that was, in photos. 

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.