FACETS

LE SMOKING …

It was only a matter of time before the cigar craze hit the jewelry industry as a design theme, not just an accompaniment to one’s after-dinner port. Suddenly, jewelry designers are creating everything from tiny jeweled stogies to cigar bands made of precious metal and, of course, the requisite luxury smoking implements.

IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ’EM, JOIN ’EM

A return to luxury in the past few years has helped fine jewelry sales to blossom at the expense of fashion jewelry dollars. So Carolee Friedlander – whose Carolee brand occupies the lion’s share of the fashion jewelry departments of top stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue – has added sterling silver jewelry and watches to her collection.

To support her move into fine jewelry, Carolee undertook a massive national advertising campaign. In addition, her sterling silver and watch collections are an important part of her aggressive overseas marketing plans, which include department store boutiques in Mitsoukoshi in Japan and Harrod’s in London.

The collection is sleek and modern, varying from the Sentiments collection with a streetwise edge to romantic inscriptions in French and English to the sterling-and-pearls collection to a sterling and gem or crystal collection.

DESIGN FINDS

Mario Saba began his career as a jewelry apprentice at Bulgari, the famed Italian jewelry house. After five years of training, he headed to London to make his own mark on the international jewelry market. And what a mark he has made: he received a Diamonds-International Award in 1978, several D-IA finalist placements and many other awards and commendations in the Diamonds Today competitions of Italy and England. In addition, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in Great Britain acquired one of his 18k gold brooches for its permanent collection.

In 1980, Sabo opened his own shop on London’s fashionable Sloane Street (where the “Sloane Rangers” nickname for titled society women originates). Due to refurbishment of the building, he moved to his new location, a Hatton Garden studio, in 1993.

Award-winning New Jersey designer Tom Cherin has a trillion reasons to be happy: he’s the designer of a new line of jewelry for the Trillion Diamond Co. in New York City.

Cherin’s work features a sleek, modern architectural boldness, a play of texture and shine and, of course, the company’s patented Trielle® diamonds. “I think my recent fascination with trillion diamonds comes from the paradox of designing around a shape that is classic and at the same time has a Space Age look,” says Cherin.

Cherin aims for versatile, practical pieces that women can wear from work into evening. That design philosophy was won him a Diamonds-International Award from De Beers and a Spectrum Award from the American Gem Trade Association.

He has a studio in Westfield, N.J., a full-service shop specializing in custom design, limited-edition jewelry and redesign of existing pieces. Trillion Diamond Co., (800)-TRILLION.

Forged ring in 14k gold by Thomas Cherin for Trillion Diamond Co. features a .40-ct. Trielle® diamond. Suggested retail, $2,495.

Writing the WRONG

Montblanc’s latest limited-edition pen in its writers series has a case of mistaken identity.

The pen, ostensibly bearing the signature of French author Alexandre Dumas (of Three Musketeers fame), actually is engraved with the signature of the author’s son, Alexandre Dumas Jr., who penned The Lady of the Camellias.

Women’s Wear Daily says a manuscript collector brought the error to Montblanc’s attention shortly after the pens were shipped. Montblanc immediately authorized a recall and has begun production of a corrected version, a step expected to cost more than $2 million. Collectors-in-the-know are trying to snap up the incorrect version, as the value of both versions is already being discussed on the Internet.

OLD STYLES, NEW CLOTHES

Luxe jeweler Barry Kieselstein-Cord, who many credit with resurrecting and popularizing the Greco/Roman/Etruscan/Byzantine style of jewelry, has transferred some of his signature motifs into more affordable sterling silver.

Women’s Wear Daily reports about 95 pieces were tested in Saks Fifth Avenue’s new Greenwich, Conn., store before being expanded to about 40 doors in Saks, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. The designer told WWD he expects the line to have significant impact because it goes well with today’s minimal clothing design.

Retail prices range from $175 to about $775, making them accessible to those whose disposable income is lower than the national debt. (Prices for the signature gold collection range from about $1,200 to $60,000.)

Like its American counterpart, the World Gold Council’s London office highlights style trends in periodic classification brochures of gold jewelry. Below are some gold neckwear selections from the catalog. Telephone numbers for the designers are listed in the captions. Or contact the World Gold Council’s London office, Kings House, 10 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4BP, U.K.; (44-171) 930-5171 (Eastern Time plus five hours); or the WGC New York office, 900 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022; (212) 688-0005. (Prices listed below are based on the exchange rate at press time.)

TidBits

The Council of Fashion Designers of America focused on jewelry in its 1996 campaign to fight breast cancer. Instead of Ralph Lauren’s blue and white bull’s-eye “Fashion Targets Breast Cancer”

T-shirt that raised almost $5 million to fight the disease in 1994 and 1995, the CFDA now sells an Austrian crystal bull’s-eye pin as its latest symbol of the fight. For each sale of the $35 pin, $10 is donated to the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. … Tiffany & Co. is scarfing up praise for its new Nature Silk scarf collection featuring six designs: “Botanical,” “Leaves,” “Sunflower,” “Tulip,” “Magnolia” and “Orchid.” Several designs, such as Magnolia and Orchid, are reinterpretations of famous Tiffany silver and jewelry products. Each of the 100% silk twill scarves is 36-in. square and retails for $185 … Aggressively expanding accessories and fine jewelry purveyor Philippe Charriol recently hosted a party to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its first U.S. boutique, located in La Jolla, Cal. Other Charriol boutiques dot the earth, in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, etc., with more to come. Two more U.S. stores (Hawaii and Atlanta) were slated to be open by the end of 1996 … What will they think of next? At the National Funeral Directors Association trade show, funeral director Terry Dieterle of Aurora, Ill., showed a new collection of cremation jewelry. He offered 14k gold and diamond handcrafted hollow pendants that can be filled with the remains of a loved one. Prices range from $1,900 to $10,000. (That’s for the locket, we presume, not the contents.)