A Review of Hearts On Fire’s New Concept Retail Store

Hearts On Fire, the 16-year-old diamond brand that’s become a staple in bridal cases across the U.S., has debuted its second concept store in Las Vegas. The design marries the futuristic vibe of the Apple stores with the upscale minimalism of a Neiman Marcus jewelry department. The first Hearts On Fire concept store opened in Taiwan in January.

A rendering of the facade of the new Hearts On Fire concept store in Las Vegas.

The sleek unit, which features a space-age purple, silver, and black color palette, debuted at the swanky Forum Shops at Caesars Palace on May 17. Its design, which was conceptualized by architectural firm 8 Inc., (the same guys who dreamt up Apple’s store design), is meant to reinvent the way people shop for diamond jewelry.

A rendering of the inside of the new Hearts On Fire concept store in Las Vegas (photos courtesy of Hearts On Fire).

Eye-level transparent “Jewel Boxes” that open with the swipe of a key card—sending out a mirror-backed drawer peppered with pieces—replace long display cases, putting shoppers and sales staff on the same side of the glass when perusing merchandise.

The store’s façade is a gaping entryway, as opposed to traditional heavy doors, while a touch-screen “Knowledge Wall” sends items to a virtual jewelry tray that a sales person can then deliver to a table for try-ons. And, as at Apple, cash registers are verboten; staffers make sales via mobile devices.

The high-tech space doesn’t exactly inspire warm fuzzies, but it certainly showcases the brand’s baubles beautifully.

And the company’s relative youth makes it a good match for a fully-wired retail environment. “Heritage brands can draw on their deep archives, and we can’t,” says Mark Israel, president of Hearts On Fire. “But as a young brand we have the great advantage of not having 150 years of history behind us, which allows us to change the retail paradigm and be very modern and innovative.”

When conjuring the new concept, the company looked to Apple and Starbucks, companies “that went out and said ‘we are going to change the way people shop in this category,’” says Israel. “We really wanted to think of a new way to talk to the consumer. We wanted to make it a very accessible, fun, engaging experience, and remove the barriers of traditional jewelry stores. In talking to our retail partners and working with our own team, we felt the time was ripe for a new idea.”

Hearts On Fire’s independent retailer partners are woven into the development of each concept store, though they are not franchisees. “Each partnership works a little differently,” notes Israel.

The Las Vegas store, for example, is co-owned with Cliff and Darlene Miller of local independent jewelry store MJ Christensen Diamonds. “They were involved in the concept and development of the store, and eventually we will take the best of what we learn in these new stores and transfer it into a shop-in-shop concept.”

Hearts On Fire currently has 14 stores, but plans to open as many as 75 concept shops in the next five years.

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JCK Magazine Editor