Ippolita Toasts Rose as Economic Tonic

Ippolita is taking steps to safeguard and diversify its business in the troubled economic climate.

Pieces from Ippolita's Rose line.

Ippolita, which received a cash influx last year through an investment by private equity fund Castanea Partners, is taking steps to safeguard and diversify its business in the troubled economic climate.

This story first appeared in the July 21, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Last year, the company launched Ippolita 925, its first silver line, joining its existing 18-karat gold line. The silver line features electroplated, hammered silver bangles and gemstone rings and retails for $175 to $1,800. The Ippolita 18-karat line sells for $295 to $25,000.

With the jewelry industry worried about how soaring metal prices will hurt business, the designer has introduced a bridge line called Ippolita Rosé, a pink hue sterling silver collection. The namesake jeweler isn’t a trained metallurgist, but she created a “secret recipe” alloy of silver, with some rose gold, to produce the collection that retails from $195 for a pair of hoop earrings to $950 for an oversize rock crystal pendant.

Rose gold, which is essentially an alloy of yellow gold combined with copper for a pink effect, has been popular among jewelers in the last few years. They say its warm color complements most skin tones. This collection is a more pale pink than traditional rose gold. “I really loved the color, but I didn’t want to cannibalize my goal,” said Ippolita, who goes by one name. “I’m espoused to the idea of keeping the gold in its own world without pitting it against other colors. [The Rosé] is a more fashion-forward, feminine look.”

Ippolita Rosé hits Neiman Marcus stores exclusively in August. Next year, the brand has plans to open up to additional wholesale accounts. Industry sources estimated the Rosé collection could bring in $2.5 million in sales this season. The silver line, which was launched in 15 Saks Fifth Avenue doors, will have a wider distribution into 55 doors, including Neiman Marcus. The gold line is sold in more than 100 specialty and independent U.S. stores.

The Ippolita Rosé line will be merchandised in its own separate case in each store, alongside the gold and silver lines, which have their own respective cases.

“The amazing thing about this concept is that it’s a slightly higher price point than sterling, but it also incorporates the gold,” said Ippolita chief executive officer Lauren Sharfman. “It’s a price point opportunity. It gives Ippolita the opportunity to use a lot more metal and not to limit herself.”