Professional Jeweler Archive: Pearls in Power

August 2004


Pearls in Power

Megamarketers such as David Yurman and Tiffany & Co. view pearls as an underdeveloped and fragmented category. That's about to change

If you’re wondering whether to stock up on pearls for the holiday season, just do it. The gems are part of a perfect storm of publicity being created by top marketers such as Tiffany & Co. and David Yurman. International brand Golay Group is introducing a new brand called Louis Golay also. The timing couldn’t be better because the fashion world is embracing the category as an essential complement to the ladylike, Sixties and bohemian themes in apparel right now.

Yurman Embraces Pearls

David Yurman makes a big commitment to pearls this year. “This introduction is important to the company and the industry,” he says. “We acquired nearly the entire reserve of this season’s South Sea pearl harvest.”

He hopes to make South Sea cultured pearls accessible to a wider audience through his sterling silver designs. “Even the most precious materials should have a certain accessibility and be part of our relaxed American luxury,” he says. He also creates South Sea pearl jewels for the higher end in 18k gold and offers one-of-a-kind and couture pieces.

It’s a return to his roots, says Yurman, who was the International Pearl Association’s Pearl Designer of the Year in 1982. His new pearl collection – which includes single and multistrand necklaces, bracelets, drop earrings and rings – ranges from $1,000 to $250,000 suggested retail.

Tiffany’s Pearl Jewelry Stores

Tiffany & Co. will create a new concept in jewelry stores this year by starting a chain called Iridesse that specializes in pearls and pearl jewelry. The first opens this fall at Tysons Galleria Mall in McLean, VA. The second store is expected to open this fall also; details will be announced when a lease is finalized.

Four additional Iridesse stores are planned for 2005, and 20 should be operational within five years, says the company. The stores will not carry Tiffany brand jewelry. “Through Iridesse, we hope to establish a position of authority and merchandising leadership in this fragmented, underdeveloped jewelry category,” says Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany chairman and CEO. “We believe there is an important opportunity to present pearls and pearl jewelry in an innovative, exciting new retail format.”

Iridesse stores will showcase a wide range of pearl types. Tiffany hopes the assortment will celebrate the traditional pearl strand as well as generate excitement for various pearl shapes and colors in everyday pearl jewelry collections. The merchandise is expected to range from slightly under $100 to $40,000 retail.

Golay Group Develops New Brand

Though less well-known in the U.S., the Golay Group introduced its Louis Golay brand at BaselWorld. The collection is designed by Karim Rashid of New York City, who also creates packaging, interior design and household objects for brands such as Yves St. Laurent, Issey Miyake, Prada, Estée Lauder and Davidoff. This is his first jewelry line.

Rashid’s designs are organic and sensuous and designed to be wearable. They’re set in 18k yellow or white gold and feature pearls from 9mm to 14mm. Prices range from 1,200 to 35,000 euros. For U.S. prices, call Golay’s New York City office at (212) 223-2983.

An image from David Yurman’s Fall 2004 ad campaign featuring pearls.
David Yurman’s pearl jewelry ranges from $1,000 to $250,000 suggested retail and features multistrand bracelets, necklaces, drop earrings and rings in sterling silver. He also designs higher-end pieces in 18k gold.

Louis Golay ring cradles its pearl.

Louis Golay pearl pendants exemplify the soft organic style of the collection.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications