By  on September 24, 2007

Jewelry brand De Beers has opened its fourth store in the U.S., in Houston's Galleria shopping center. The 1,353-square-foot unit has the same modern look as the firm's boutiques in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The space features ebony walls, etched glass paneling and a private room for VIP clients. The jewelry cases are freestanding so consumers are able to get a 360-degree perspective of the offerings, which include small diamond pendants, engagement rings, brooches and more dramatic, high-jewelry diamond collars. Prices range from the low hundreds of dollars into the millions.

"Houston has great energy," said Hamida Belkadi, chief operating officer of De Beers North America. "It is a multinational city, being the center for medical research and oil. It attracts a wide range of shoppers."

The firm's first men's collection, designed by British jeweler Stephen Webster, will be sold in the store. Webster took inspiration from medieval weaponry and other masculine interests in creating styles like the Mace and Diamond Bead pendant and the Pall Bearer ring, which resembles a miniature coffin covered in diamonds.

The new women's collection, called Ice on Fire, focuses on the combination of rough and cut stones. De Beers has been pushing rough, unpolished diamonds for some time, notably with its Talisman collection, unveiled in 2005. Its first watch line, which launches next month, is said to include rough diamonds. The company plans to wholesale the watches, but there are no plans to wholesale the jewelry.

The Houston store is only the first of several openings for the brand in the U.S. over the next few months. In November, De Beers will open a store in Washington, and a unit in San Francisco will open by year's end.

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