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Buccellati Plots Expansion

With Clessidra SGR’s acquisition of a majority stake last year, the company has been busy modernizing its artisanal image.

MILAN — With private equity firm Clessidra SGR’s acquisition of a majority stake in Buccellati last year — and the subsequent arrival of new chief executive officer Thierry Andretta — the Italian jewelry company has been busy modernizing its artisanal image and plotting future growth.

“It’s a time of expansion, but also a kind of restart for the company,” said Andretta, noting that Buccellati has been focusing on making its jewelry more accessible to a wider range of customers, while remaining on the high end of the market: engagement rings in the new Romanza collection, for instance, range from between 7,000 and 8,000 euros, or about $9,755 to $11,148 at current exchange, to 30,000 or 40,000 euros, or $41,806 to $55,740, depending on the materials used.

Since about 70 percent of its offering comprises one-of-a-kind pieces, to achieve its goal of greater accessibility, Buccellati has concentrated on developing its line of watches and five core “families” of jewelry, in a range of materials and levels of detail. During a presentation in Milan on Tuesday, Andretta said this strategy had allowed the company to lower its starting prices by 15 to 20 percent, which “positions us more competitively in the world of haute joaillerie.” In addition, the five jewelry families will appear in international advertising campaigns, reinforcing brand recognition, and a new Buccellati logo is in the works.

At Baselworld this year, Buccellati introduced a gold-engraved, diamond-encrusted iPhone case and iPad Mini holder inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of the sun, and the items are a taste of the company’s future foray into technological accessories, said creative director Andrea Buccellati, whose designer daughter Lucrezia dreamed up the pieces. “We’re now developing other products based on the concept of technology, obviously with all the characteristics inherent to Buccellati’s DNA,” he said.

Andretta said response to the tech accessories had been enthusiastic, notably in the U.S. “There is a client base in new markets and new niches in the world of haute joaillerie that doesn’t have hard and fast rules and isn’t fixated just on beautiful earrings and rings and necklaces, but is willing to enter new terrain,” he said.

The company is looking into further expansion in the U.S. market — where it already has four flagships, in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Aspen, Colo. — and also in Hong Kong. In Dubai, Andretta said Buccellati is considering joint ventures or directly operated stores, owing to the city’s high volume of tourists, whereas in the rest of the Middle East, where most customers are residents, the firm is considering partnerships with local partners.