They're the few, the proud, the extremely wealthy and they want
Trendwatchers have written much about the democratization of luxury in
the 1990s. The junior assistant who saves up to buy the Hermès scarf,
the Louis Vuitton eyeglass case or the David Yurman ring feels she can have
a piece of the aura that once surrounded the Duchess of Windsor or Jacqueline
But jewelers know the genuine luxury customer looking for an important
and expensive jewel isn't the shop assistant who's buying something small
merely to own a piece of a luxury brand. In fact, that assistant's quest
for brand names may soon send really wealthy consumers elsewhere. New York
Times Fashion and Style Editor Holly Brubach recently wrote that as brands
become ubiquitous, their appeal to the upper crust may wane. "In a
world in which so many different brands compete for our attention, the prestige
of one seems to cancel out another," she says. Brubach envisions a
day when the people with serious money will actually search for unique and
label-free products when buying at the top end of the market.
Jewelers hoping to sell top-of-the-line jewelry must know how to appeal
to this kind of a luxury customer. A good jeweler can put his or her own
stamp of expertise on a high-end sale, guaranteeing the diamonds and gemstones
are of the highest quality, and that the gold or platinum content and construction
are up to the store's stringent standards.
But even the best jewelers need backup. Here's a pick of the marketplace's
current luxury jewelry, much of which luxury pretenders will only dream
about. But make no mistake, the dream is important, too, in sustaining the
mystique of all jewelry. Manufacturers know this and often create showpieces
such as these simply to whet the appetite of the masses for more down-to-earth
Henry Dunay's new perfume, Sabi, which graces Professional Jeweler'scover
this month, is a good example. Dunay fashioned a diamond-topped, limited-edition
version of the perfume vial with a luxury price tag of $30,000. The diamond
top can then be joined to a pendant attachment and worn as a piece of jewelry.
For the mere mortals, Dunay also designed a beautiful diamond-free bottle
of perfume with a price tag of $225 per ounce. Both debut at Neiman Marcus
this month, with a wider rollout expected next year.
by Peggy Jo Donahue and Lorraine Suermann
|Scalloped platinum necklace features 351 tapered baguette diamonds and 189
round diamonds totaling 14.85 carats. Suggested retail, $32,670. Detachable
18k white gold pendant holds a 5.91-ct. tanzanite and 1.02 carats of diamonds.
Suggested retail, $7,470. Photo by Zale Richard Rubins, Photo·Graphics.|
Carl K. Gumpert, Los Angeles, CA; (800) 843 3998 or (213) 626-6531, fax
|This flower fit for a princess is fashioned in platinum and 18k gold with
diamond pavé (0.23 carat of fancy yellow and 19.76 carats of white)
and a 5.59-ct. ruby. Suggested retail, $217,500.|
Élan, Greenwich, CT; (203) 629-0578.
|All eyes will focus on the wrist that wears these sapphire bracelets by
Ella|Jewels. The channel-set yellow sapphire bracelets have a faceted pink
sapphire clasp or faceted blue sapphire clasp, each holding 15-16 carats
in white and yellow gold and each retailing for $10,000. The blue sapphire
bracelet in 18k white gold features 20 carats of blue sapphires and a floral
clasp with 0.15 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $20,000.|
Ella|Jewels by Ella Gafter, New York City; (212) 398-0101, fax (212) 302-0153.
|The Sahara bracelet by Damiani resembles the movement of rippling dunes
and a shining light in a mirage. The contours are fashioned with 1,865 diamonds
and 298.50 grams of gold.|
Ketty Maisonrouge & Co., New York City; (212) 757-2468, fax (212) 757-2833.
|This mother-of-pearl gambling chip dates back more than 250 years, one of
many handcrafted for British royalty and nobility in China. When the British
were ousted from China for perpetuating the Opium Wars a century ago, the
pieces were transported to England and are only now being rediscovered.
This pin/pendant frames a mother-of-pearl antique gambling counter in 14k
gold. Cultured pearls nestle in 14k gold leaves, and a South Sea pearl hangs
from the bottom. Suggested retail, $5,000.|
Donna Chambers Designs Inc., White Plains, NY; (914) 287-0303,
|Emerald-cut diamonds set in platinum lend a classic air to this necklace
(157.25 carats), bracelet (57.70 carats) and earrings (14.06 carat).|
Philippe Diamond Corp., New York City; (800) 247-5570 or (212) 869-5570,
fax (212) 944-2506.
|18 Tahitian black pearls and 33.22 carats of diamonds define this luxurious
necklace by Craig Drake. Suggested retail, $88,000. Matching earrings have
two black Tahitian pearls and 2.91 carats of diamonds. Suggested retail,
Craig Drake Mfg. Inc., Philadelphia, PA; (215) 568-2330, fax (215) 564-0579.
|Elegant ensemble by Eugene Biro Corp. features 27.67 carats of round brilliant
and baguette diamonds and a 2.06-ct. emerald-cut center diamond set in platinum.
The bracelet holds 9 carats of round brilliant and baguette diamonds.|
Eugene Biro Corp., New York City; (212) 997-0146, fax (212) 764-4506.
|"Juno," a collaboration by Paula Crevoshay and Michael Stoller,
is a one-of-a-kind 16.97-ct. carved amethyst perfume bottle crowned with
moonstones, sapphires and an oval opal. Suggested retail, $9,000.|
Mellika Co. Inc., Upton, MA; (508) 529-4494, fax (508) 529-4495.
|18k gold interlaced necklace is 16 inches long and has five diamond sections
totaling 1.0 carat set in platinum. Suggested retail, $9,200. The 18k five-strand,
7-in. bracelet is $1,450 suggested retail. The 18k gold cross-stitch earclips
(top) are $1,850, the Yin-Yang earclips (middle) are $1,750 and the interlace
earclips (bottom) with 12.5mm mabé pearls are $2,700.|
Yuri Ichihashi, New York City; (212) 777-2450, fax (212) 777-2241.
|Fit for royalty, a rainbow of 104 flawless diamonds weighing 217 carats
and a 5-ct. teardrop center set this necklace apart from the rest. Suggested
retail? A cool $12 million.|
A. LeVian, New York City; (800) 239-9224, fax (212) 944-7734.
|Diamonds and more diamonds. The tennis bracelet is invisibly set with 13.09
carats of princess-cut diamonds and 7.30 carats of Crisscut® diamonds
in 18k gold. The 18k gold and platinum ring at left holds 0.84 carat of
Crisscut diamonds and a 0.75-ct. center diamond. Second from left is a ring
with 2.80 carats of Crisscut diamonds and a 2.52-ct. center stone in platinum.
The third ring has 1.37 carats of round diamonds and 0.70 carat of Crisscut
diamonds in platinum. The fourth ring features 2.41 carats of Crisscut diamonds
and a 1-ct. center diamond in platinum.|
Christopher Designs, New York City; (212) 382-1013, fax (212) 768-8978.
|From the belly of a mollusk come these natural golden cultured South Sea
pearls. They're separated by gold stations holding 9.40 carats of diamonds
and 70 carats of graduated emerald beads. Suggested retail, $72,000. |
Gumuchian Fils Ltd., New York City; (800) 223-0774 or (212) 921-2755, fax
|Elegant, rich, simple. Satin-finished platinum and diamond collier, bracelet
Rudolf Erdel Platinum, New York City; (212) 633-9333, fax (212) 242-7678.
|From the Colonna Romana collection by Giuseppe Picchiotti, this necklace,
bracelet, earrings and ring are inspired by architecture. The necklace holds
21.95 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, 13.76 carats of baguette diamonds,
31.27 carats of square rubies and onyx. Suggested retail, $194,000. The
bracelet has 11.11 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, 3.61 carats of baguette
diamonds, 13.84 carats of square rubies and onyx. Suggested retail, $83,000.
The earrings are made of 3.52 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, 1.41. carats
of baguette diamonds, 1.46 carats of square rubies and onyx. Suggested retail,
$24,000. The ring holds 1.78 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, 1.32 carats
of baguette diamonds, 1.14 carats of square rubies and onyx. Suggested retail,
DJS Marketing Group, Miami, FL; (305) 860-9500, fax (305) 860-9454.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.