Twinkling Once More

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Maria Sanchez

Call it the dollar-nose-ring-barometer.

Maria Sanchez, sells these and other pieces of inexpensive jewelry from a table she sets up across from the Knickerbocker Avenue subway station in Bushwick.

For the past two years she has been selling bangles, rings, and assorted small trinkets. But only in the past six months has business been good.

“For the first time after my husband died, things are looking up,” she says.

He died in 2009 and his illness left the family broke. Sanchez, 52, had recently lost her job. Then a friend who worked at a jewelry store told her that their sales had defied the economic downturn. Sanchez took the cue.

When she first opened shop few passersby took notice of the short woman selling cheap jewelry on a frayed tablecloth. Sanchez realized that her designs were not trendy.

She got her friend to tell her what designs were selling well, and then went all over New York to find cheaper versions of the same jewelry. Young women who used to ignore her shop started stopping. Now, more of them buy than before.

“For me, the economy is better now,” she says.

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