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While most sectors of Russia's economy
While most sectors of Russia's economy have been hard hit by the global credit crunch, the jewelry business has seen a new boom, as consumers turn to gold and gemstones as safe investment options.

Russian newspapers said demand for jewelry has risen dramatically in recent months, with sales outpacing supply. Shop assistants say Russians tended to buy diamonds "for a rainy day" as a wave of layoffs and pay cuts sweeps the country.

"There has been more work in the past two months," jewelry shop assistant Lyubov Pushkaryova told the Trud daily. "Precious stones are the best possible investment option. Money could fall in value, while gemstone prices are constantly growing."

The paper said gold bullion and coins were also in great demand.

Komsomolskaya Pravda said earlier that demand for fur coats and other outer clothes had dropped despite the onset of winter.

While the jewelry business thrives, layoffs are on the rise in the banking sector, real estate, and journalism.

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