There has always been an important distinction between fashion jewelry and fine jewelry. Brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Fendi can create costume jewelry commanding thousands of dollars primarily because of logos, not the materials, they use. Not so for fine jewelers who pride themselves upon staying true to their trade by not compromising on precious metals or gems.
However, more fine jewelry retailers are finding themselves in a world where customers are buying spontaneously for themselves, and affordable price points matter.
This trend came to a head about 10 years ago, when gold prices shot out of the stratosphere and the economy took a nose dive. Some companies turned to alternative metals such as tungsten, cobalt and titanium, while others turned to fashion jewelry.
But the pendulum is swinging again. Retailers are reporting that consumers walking into stores are willing to spend more. And jewelers are tired of the fad products that have a limited shelf life. So how does a jeweler bridge the gap between the spontaneous purchase and offering something that is in line with the philosophy of a fine jewelry store?
Companies like Royal Chain, adamant about maintaining its reputation as a fine jewelry-maker, found such a bridge by creating Phillip Gavriel, a collection that offers high-quality fine jewelry at price points ranging from $100 to $6,500. The range uses only precious metals like sterling silver and adds 18k gold, gemstones, and diamonds as accents. Phillip Gabriel Maroof, creative director and designer of Royal Chain and for whom the offshoot brand Phillip Gavriel is named, calls it the democratization of fine jewelry.
Phillip Gavriel (pendant necklaces in sterling silver and 18k gold with birthstone gems and diamonds) – Starting at $100.
“I was given the task of creating a collection to give fine jewelry with a design to the masses,” Maroof explains, noting he worked with artisans in Italy to create the collection. “ I felt there was something missing in jewelry stores, a real brand that stays true to the concept of fine jewelry, with great craftsmanship, that’s accessible to a wider audience. From the early stages, retailers noticed that there was strong sell-through and turn, and people found there to be a great value/price ratio.”
Phillip Gavriel (Popcorn collection cuff bracelets in sterling silver and 18k gold with 0.25 ct. t.w. diamonds or black sapphires) – Starting at $350.
The line’s superior craftsmanship for its price is worth noting. The Dragonfly collection, which features handmade pieces in silver, gold, and gemstones for price points ranging from $100 to $500, are all handmade in Bali. Each individual strand of the Silver Woven collection is hand-soldered. And then there is the Popcorn collection, which has been one of the brand’s signature looks for several years now and features bracelets, many handcrafted in Italy with the same precious components that retail from $300 and up. “Bracelets are one of the ways we ‘hook’ people,” says Maroof, referring to both retailers who are looking for that magic price point and consumers who tend to become collectors of the stackable pieces.
Phillip Gavriel (sterling silver and 18k gold Horsebit Buckle bracelets with colored sapphires and diamonds) – Starting at $199.
Ten years later, as the economy has strengthened and its parent company celebrates its 40th anniversary, Phillip Gavriel® has expanding beyond silver to 18k gold pieces. Last year he introduced his Woven collection in gold, and this January saw the debut of Popcorn in the coveted metal. Notable pieces include a woven 14k gold bracelet with diamond-encrusted clasp for $6,500, a woven 14k gold lariat necklace with diamonds for $1,950, and the popcorn-effect 14K polished classic hoop earrings with omega back for $550.
Phillip Gavriel (14k Woven Gold collection lariat necklace with diamonds) $1,695
During a 10-year period, Maroof has seen the brand go from a demographic of women 40 and older to a younger demographic of 30-somethings. It has also introduced more pieces for men.
In the years ahead, Maroof says he plans to design two collections per year, expand into more categories, innovate with new metals, gemstones and techniques as well as supporting their now 200-plus retailers by investing in brand awareness through a comprehensive marketing and advertising strategy which includes traditional print, digital, and social media.
“We are committed to keeping jewelry-making alive through this brand,” says Maroof.
For more information, visit phillipgavriel.com, or call 800-622-0960.
Shown above, Phillip Gavriel (Popcorn Gold Collection) – from left to right: BG2288, BG2231, BG2284 $1,395 – $1,895