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Gold: Borgezie Shoes, Frey Wille Boutiques

The Vault
By Jennifer Heebner, Senior Editor
This story appears in the October 2010 issue of JCK magazine
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Gold: Borgezie Shoes, Frey Wille Boutiques
Eternal Borgezie Diamond Stiletto with 30 cts. t.w. diamonds in 18k gold; $155,000; House of Borgezie, Birmingham, England; 44-121-233-4111; borgezie.com

Forget Glass—Try a Golden Slipper

Cinderella could’ve done better in the shoe department if Borgezie had been in her court. The Birmingham, England–based House of Borgezie—a seven-year-old lux­ury jeweler—has unveiled a pair of shoes that could have Carrie Bradshaw snubbing her beloved Jimmy Choos. Enter the Eternal Borgezie Diamond Stiletto, complete with 30 cts. t.w. VSI2 diamonds (2,200 stones in total) in 18k gold for a cool $155,000 per pair.

Company founder Christopher Michael Shellis told JCK this was his first attempt at shoe making, which he did simply for the challenge. The strappy sandal—with a 5-inch fluted heel inspired by the stamens of a lily—took three years to develop. “We have made nine pairs so far but have a rapidly growing order book,” says Shellis. “However, we will never enter into mass production, with a cut-off point on the 1,000th pair.” Accompanying that lofty goal is a product warranty of equally astronomical proportions: a 1,000-year guarantee. “I’m going for a treasure,” he explains.

The “treasures” can currently be found at the House of Borgezie’s flagship store in Birmingham—each bespoke pair is made in the U.K.—and in-home personal consultations are available worldwide.

Next for Shellis: an 18k gold clutch with 30 cts. t.w. diamonds, which, at press time, was four days from completion. “It’s hard to believe, but the bag may actually be more special than the shoes,” says Shellis, who’s planning even more exciting accessories, including a compact and a lipstick holder, and cuff links and belt buckles for jewel-loving gents.

The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Wille

Diva bangle inspired by the art of Gustav Klimt in enamel and 24k gold-plated brass; $1,395; Frey Wille, Santa Monica, Calif.; 310-260-2639; frey-wille.com

Frey Wille is growing again. To date in 2010, the Austrian maker of 18k gold and 24k gold-plated enamel jewelry, among other materials, has already opened eight stores—some in Russia and China, with others in Cannes, France, and Vancouver, British Columbia, according to a rep. And more are in the works: The brand’s first U.S. store in New York City (at 727 Madison Ave., next door to luxury diamond jeweler Kwiat) and one in Sydney are scheduled to open this month. By the end of the year, the Vienna-based manufacturer will operate a total of 68 international brand boutiques, with suggested retail for jewelry starting at $155 in 24k gold plate.

Selling Gold? You’d Better Shop Around

In an effort to better protect consumers from gold-buying scams, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation recently investigated the practices of local ­jewelers; findings led the office to encourage consumers to shop around to get the best price for their pieces. The message to jewelers: Be honest and treat customers fairly, lest the industry incur yet another black eye (blood diamonds, conflict gold…need we continue?).

 iStockphoto

A survey of 10 Boston-based jewelry stores in the city’s Downtown Crossing and Chinatown neighborhoods over two consecutive summer days revealed that monetary offers from jewelers for the same 14k gold merchandise—one rope chain and one rope bracelet, two rings, and a pair of earrings—differed widely. At the time the survey was conducted, gold was priced at about $1,200 an ounce, and all jewelers were asked to provide an estimated weight and purchase price. Weights given by jewelers ranged from 48 to 50 grams, while cash offers varied even more—from $485 to $1,000.

“Our survey shows significant differences in the prices various jewelers will pay average consumers for their gold,” undersecretary Barbara Anthony told the press. She advised consumers in her district to do a little extra “legwork” to ensure they get the best price for their valuables.

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