By  on August 3, 2007

MILAN — After building its fragrance portfolio, high-end jewelry firm Bulgari will strengthen its presence on beauty counters with a new skin care line.

Fifteen years after launching its first scent, called Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert — which originally was a gift to the Roman jewelry firm's top clients — Bulgari will introduce its 15-stockkeeping-unit skin care line in October in a limited distribution network that will include 150 doors in Italy.

At a launch event here for the line, Bulgari's chief executive officer, Francesco Trapani, said the company's fragrance division has a new moniker, Bulgari Parfums et Cosmetiques. Founded in 1990, Bulgari's fragrance business now includes 19 scents, and last year, it reached revenues of 202 million euros, or $253.8 million at average exchange. Trapani added he was expecting double-digit growth for the division this year.

"We are the 10th-biggest, single-brand perfume business in the world. And we want the brand to become even stronger, so we believe this skin care launch will enable us to do that," said Trapani. "It's important to have not only fragrance, but a cosmetics line, to give the brand better visibility and build on the brand's image."

Bulgari's skin care line will be distributed exclusively in Italy until next year. Plans to roll it out to the U.S. and other selected countries next year have not yet been finalized.

Though Trapani refused to project sales for the skin care line's first year on the market, industry sources say the launch could net $4 million.

Taking direction from the company's lifeblood, gemology, the Bulgari skin care line's key ingredient is Bulgari Gem Essence, a formula containing extracts of precious stones such as sapphire, malachite, tourmaline and citrine.

To create the Bulgari Gem Essence, the gemstones are pulverized and liquefied and added to other active ingredients. The formula is awaiting an international patent. "We searched for something particular to put behind this line and we found it in this Bulgari Gem Essence — from the aspect that it is very close to the company's DNA," said Trapani. "But on the other hand, it is something that has been proven to be very effective as an ingredient."

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