JFA Designs Creates Originals-Only Collection
To help independent jewelers combat competition, designer introduces a one-of-a-kind collection featuring unique gemstones
What better way to avoid the price-shopping fray than to offer one-of-a-kind jewelry designs? Designer Jean-François Albert, Irvine, CA, gives you that option with his new Originals-Only collection.
The collection is a departure from Albert's successful production lines of bridal jewelry and patented, fully adjustable Signature Fit rings. The Originals-Only collection is an ever-changing design target. "There's a lot of freedom in one-of-a-kinds you don't have to think about production considerations. It presents a very exciting and challenging opportunity for me that's been very rewarding," says Albert.
The current collection, which was launched this June, is 18k gold or platinum and reflects Albert's contemporary symmetrical styling of sleek lines set with unusual brightly colored gemstones. Pieces range from $7,000 to $200,000 keystone. Among the highlights are a platinum Signature Fit ring set with a 7.17-ct. aquamarine and 20 diamonds totaling 0.66 carat and an 18k yellow and white gold Signature Fit ring with a 5.82-ct. golden tourmaline and 16 diamonds totaling 0.36 carat. Both colored gemstones were faceted by famed German cutter Tom Munsteiner. "The only fantasy-cut stones I use are by Bernd and Tom Munsteiner," says Albert. "Their designs work well with my clean lines and balanced looks, and they add a lot to my original pieces because they are so unique." Otherwise, Albert selects well-faceted traditional gemstones primarily in emerald, cushion and oval cuts.
Each Originals-Only piece is photographed and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity that guarantees its exclusivity. Albert helps retailers market the concept through ads in such consumer publications as Town & Country, InStyle, W and Vogue. The collection also is posted on JFA Designs' Web site with information on how to contact the retailer possessing each piece.
Albert doesn't sell any jewelry on his Web site, though he has featured some production designs on Ashford.com to boost exposure. "Ashford is under contract to sell my pieces for triple keystone and not at a discount," he says. In fact, Albert was motivated to design the Originals-Only collection when one or two of his clients expressed concern about the Ashford.com connection. He says the new collection reinforces his commitment to independent jewelers. And many of them are thrilled with the concept.
"I am fascinated by the possibilities," says Scott Cusson, owner of Brinsmaids in New Canaan, CT, who recently bought three one-of-a-kinds. "The unique nature of each piece and the documentation of originality make this concept very special. As a design-oriented shop, it's my hope other designers will move in this direction."
JFA Designs, Irvine, CA; (949) 263-9909, fax (949) 263-9910, www.jfadesigns.com.
||This morganite pendant was designed as a one-of-a-kind piece for one of Jean François Alberts retailer clients.
Photo: Robert Weldon.