Professional Jeweler Archive: Iridesse Stores Make Pearls the Focus

January 2005

The Store / Image

Iridesse Stores Make Pearls the Focus

New Tiffany & Co. division will give pearls the 'diamond' treatment

Iridesse, the new pearl jewelry store chain operated by Tiffany & Co., opened its first store in October at Tysons Galleria Mall, McLean, VA. The second opened in November at The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. Within five years, the company expects to open at least 20 stores in top U.S. markets.

The chain is positioned as the “preeminent retail showcase for cultured pearl jewelry for every woman for every occasion.” Iridesse celebrates the beauty of cultured pearls and educates customers about pearl quality using gemological grading standards, says Tiffany & Co. The approach is similar to one used by many jewelers who specialize in diamonds. In announcing the venture, Tiffany Chairman and CEO Michael Kowalski said that up until now, pearls have been a “fragmented [and] underdeveloped category” that’s ripe for a more concentrated promotional and merchandising strategy.

The name Iridesse was inspired by the iridescent play of colors and light on the surface of a pearl. The stores are designed to envelop the customer in the subtle colors of the sea.

Highlights include a Pearl Bar for customer consultation and apothecary-style drawers with a large selection of pearl strands. There also are edgier and more casual styles. Retail prices range from under $100 to $40,000. “The Iridesse price point will be much more affordable [than Tiffany’s],” Mark Aaron, vice president of investor relations, told the New York Observer. “There will be a greater fashion element to it. We felt there is a lot of business that can be done that is not appropriate to bring into a Tiffany store.”

Designers who make exclusive pieces for Iridesse include Anthony Nak, Erica Courtney, Chrissie Douglas of Coleman Douglas Pearls, Christian Tse and Gabrielle Sanchez. The store also offers a selection of Iridesse brand pearl jewelry.

Iridesse storefront reveals an open, airy atmosphere meant to evoke the sea.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications