September 11, 2009

Fabergé Launches New Jewelry Line

After two years of planning, Fabergé, the brand famous for its ornately jeweled eggs, has presented its first jewelry collection in 90 years. In 2007, Pallinghurst Rresources teamed up with the South African financial services firm Investec and other investors to buy the name with the plan to revive its Russian heritage. They invited Tatiana and Sarah Fabergé, Peter Carl Fabergé's two surviving great granddaughters, to form a Faberge heritage council to advise the management on preserving the family's legacy. The NY Times reports that the firm also put together a management and design team including Mark Dunhill, former president of Alfred Dunhill and Frédéric Zaavy, a Parisian jeweler.

In a move that is completely modern, Fabergé has said they will not sell the jewelry through retail outlets. Instead they are using a different model, selling through an ornate website, a Geneva flagship store and 15 sales representatives willing to meet big spenders anywhere in the world. Fabergé may be a new line but it has the benefit of a name that is known everywhere and is synonymous with the upper echelons of luxury. The brand began in St.

Petersburg back in 1842 and became one of Russia's largest producers of jewelry and art works. The first Fabergé egg was commissioned by Czar Alexander III as an Easter present for his wife and the eggs came to define the line which was famous for the intricate craftsmanship of its skilled jewelers who created tiny marvels fashioned in precious metals and jewels.

The new line is aimed at the ultra-wealthy and does not include eggs but uses a variety of colorful gemstones sourced from around the world to create elaborate effects. On the Fabergé website there are three main collections: Les Fleurs, Les Fables and Les Fauves and each features fantastical designs in the shapes of flowers, animals and flowing shapes.

Prices for the first luxury jewelry collection range from $40,000 to $7 million, but future items may sell for $15,000. The new designs have a mythical quality that mimics the sense of wonder felt when looking at Faberge eggs.

The line launches at a time in which jewelers, particularly those that do not specialize in bridal jewelry, are losing customers and facing diminished sales. But the fact that it is a known name may help it in growing economic markets in the Middle East and Asia. The company has said that it expected to turn a profit within five years.

Although there are no Fabergé eggs in the collection, the company may eventually embrace the opportunity to return to the classic form.

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