Gold: California Jeweler Banks on Berkeley Designer Clare Ullman



A Clare Choice

When Khatchig Jingirian Jr. hosts one of his annual in-store events, designer Clare Ullman tops his call list. That’s because the karat-gold designs of the ­Berkeley, Calif.–based Ullman are “stylish enough to wear with the latest fashions, but timeless enough to be put away for 10 years and be worn again as if they were brand-new,” says Jingirian, ­president of two-and-a-half-year-old Smythe & Cross Fine Jewelry in Los Altos, Calif.

Clare Ullman sets up a display of her designs for a holiday event at Smythe & Cross Fine Jewelry.

 

 

Jingirian routinely stocks a 5-foot-long case with about 30 pieces of Ullman’s jewelry; during events—like the one held with Ullman and two other designers in November 2011, before Thanksgiving—he fills three window glass cubes with her work, as well as a few neck forms on top of her in-store case. Her pieces retail from $500 to $15,000, while best sellers—particularly earrings—go for $500 to $2,500.

At the kickoff to the store’s last three-day-long, pre-holiday social event, more than 100 people dropped by and listened to a live classical guitarist while enjoying pomegranate martinis, bacon-wrapped dates, and beef ­Wellington. The Thursday evening affair put clients in a festive mood and gave them an opportunity to see new merchandise, including an extra 50 Ullman SKUs, says Jingirian.

Khatchig Jingirian (far left) schmoozes with guests at a 2011 holiday party at his Los Altos, Calif., store.

Attendees filled out wish lists, and a few made purchases—including a multicolored tourmaline and Tahitian pearl bracelet in 18k gold for $11,000. “Clare’s items are purchased by women with a real love of color, texture, and luster,” Jingirian says.

The event cost about $8,000, including a mailing of 1,600 invites (hand-addressed!), party favors—individually wrapped cake ornaments and professional photos for guests—and rentals of a red carpet and snow machine. “We’ve really become known as the party place in town,” Jingirian says.

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