The legendary boxer sold the licensing rights to his name and signature for a new line of jewelry
What’s a more fitting backdrop for the unveiling of the Muhammad Ali jewelry collection than a swanky evening affair at the VIP Lounge in the MGM Skyloft on the Strip in Las Vegas? That’s how Twenty Three 9 Design, a design and manufacturing firm and collaboration between brothers Daniel and Cory Schifter, current owners of Photograve and Casale Jewelers in Staten Island, N.Y., recently debuted an Ali-inspired jewelry line last month. (And in a bizarre and eerily timed twist of fate, held the party on the day after Ali’s death.)
“We were hoping for Muhammad Ali himself and/or his family to attend our launch party in Las Vegas, but he wound up getting sick two days before,” explains Daniel.
Twenty Three 9 Design’s focus is on acquiring licensing deals (the siblings already own the rights to produce NBA jewelry, such as a line representing the 2016 NBA championship–winning Cleveland Cavaliers) and grew up listening to stories about Ali from their father. Those stories about the boxing great’s skills, humanitarianism, and larger-than-life persona (“I am the greatest” is one of his famous quotes) inspired the pair to design Ali-inspired jewelry in partnership with the fighter’s family. “We felt that with our talents we could create a line that would pay tribute to him,” Daniel tells JCK.
Four sub-collections define the offerings. Quotes are the theme in the Inspirational line, Ali’s signature is the focus of the Signature line, Ali’s picture is prominent in the Portrait line, and high-end jewelry items with diamonds can be found in the Specialty assortment.The collection contains 586 SKUs in sterling silver and 14k gold, with some stainless steel on request. CZ is widely used, but diamonds are available for a higher price point. Suggested retail prices in silver start at $250.
“We felt that with all he’s done not only in sports but as a great philanthropist, he deserved to have a jewelry collection made that would inspire everyone,” says Daniel. “As a businessman, ‘Suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion’ always pushes me to do bigger and better things, and I’m not even a boxing fan! His biggest fight was the one with Parkinson’s, and since he raised a large amount of money for the Muhammad Ali Center we felt it was only right that a portion of the proceeds from every piece we sell benefit this foundation.”
The Schifters invited key retailers to their Las Vegas event and signed up 50 to carry the collection. Pieces start shipping to stores in September. The buy-in starts at $3,500 and comes with a display case that hold 26 pieces.
Portrait cuff links in 14k gold-plated silver, $195
“I’m a bad man” pendant necklace in silver, $195
“Float like a butterfly sting like a bee” cufflinks in 14k gold-plated silver with CZ, $195
Boxing Glove necklace in silver with CZ, $450
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