Keepsake Widens Retail Distribution

Keepsake, one of the nation’s oldest and best-known jewelry brands, is going mass market. It’s expanding its distribution “to reach a more diverse consumer audience through varied retail distribution,” said parent firm Commemorative Brands Inc. (CBI), of Austin, Texas, in an announcement made on March 4. Jewelers, however, will remain a prime outlet for the jewelry.

Since April, Keepsake gold and diamond jewelry, including bridal, has been available nationwide in more than 2,700 discount stores and Super Centers of Wal-Mart, the $218 billion Bentonville, Ark., retailer that’s one of the country’s leading mass merchandisers. The Keepsake assortment also is sold online at Wal-Mart, which had a Keepsake bridal jewelry collection in the early 1990s, is only the first of several national retailers of Keepsake, say CBI officials.

In the past five years, Keepsake has focused on diamond bridal jewelry, which it distributes nationally under the “Keepsake Signature Collection” name to authorized jewelers. Managed by Keepsake licensee Frederick Goldman Inc., New York, this “independent jeweler channel has been an integral part of maintaining the brand’s aspirational tone and commitment to quality [and] will continue to be a critical component of Keepsake’s overall distribution strategy,” said CBI’s statement.

Wal-Mart’s new 14k and diamond jewelry line is made by Goldman, which manufactures and markets Keepsake diamond jewelry. The new line includes bridal sets, fashion earrings and necklaces, and men’s rings. Prices range from $199 to $899. The Keepsake line will be located in every Wal-Mart fine-jewelry department. Customers receive a certificate of authenticity with each purchase, and the Keepsake trademark is engraved inside each ring.

Keepsake was originally founded in 1930 by the A.H. Pond family in Syracuse, N.Y., and became well known for its fine diamond engagement rings. It was acquired in the 1970s by ArtCarved, now part of Commemorative Brands.

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