French jewelry store Mauboussin on Monday morning handed out small 0.1 carat diamonds, worth 5,000 yen each, for free. A long queue formed in front of the store before its opening at 9 a.m., and the stock of 5,000 diamonds quickly ran out before noon.
This event was held for the brand's promotion as customers are reducing the amount they spend on luxury jewelry in the current economic downturn.
For customers who want their free diamonds to be made into rings or pendants, the store is accepting such requests -- for a fee of 50,000 yen.
"A value of a diamond doesn't go down. And you never get tired of a diamond," said Noriko Suzumaru, a 39-year-old housewife, who jumped on a train from the nearby city of Kawasaki to stand in line after seeing the deal on TV news.
Established in 1827, Mauboussin has six stores in Japan, with the Ginza store having opened this February. The flagship Ginza store is on one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in Japan, in February.
But the store had often been empty because its name, though associated with international celebrities, isn't widely recognized among Japanese. Many still don't even know how to pronounce Mauboussin ("Mo-bu-SAN").
Trend-loving Japanese have also stood in lines for products like Apple Inc's iPhone, the egg-shaped toy Tamagotchi and countless video games. So drawing lines in Tokyo has become a signature way businesses drum up publicity.
When Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz, or H&M, opened its first Tokyo stores last year, they drew lines for weeks, but the lines have since disappeared.
"We hope to blow away the recession and provide an opportunity for people who are holding back on spending to have fun shopping and glow even more with beauty," Mauboussin said in a statement.© News reports