By  on October 5, 2009

Garrard is 274 years old, but the British jeweler isn’t resting on its laurels, launching a high-profile location in Saks Fifth Avenue’s Manhattan flagship and its first collaborative designer collection.

Known for outfitting the royal family with classically decadent gemstone jewelry and as holder of the Royal Warrant of Appointment for the Prince of Wales, Garrard opened its first in-store shop Friday, and it is introducing the Georgina Chapman for Garrard collection. Chapman, creative director and co-founder of Marchesa, worked alongside Garrard creative director Stephen Webster to create the line.

“It offered us the opportunity to showcase the Garrard collection with the other boutiques,” Terri Eagle, president and chief executive officer of Garrard, said of the 108-square-foot space in Saks.

Garrard, like Stephen Webster Ltd. jewelers, is owned by Yucaipa Cos., and Eagle also is president and ceo of Webster’s namesake firm. Garrard, which has a boutique in Beverly Hills, a private salon on Spring Street in SoHo and a flagship in London, is displaying its full range of jewelry in the Saks’ shop. Prices range from $825 for a silver piece with gemstones from Chapman’s collection to $1.1 million for a ring set with an 11-carat white cushion-cut diamond from Garrard’s main line.

The shop was inspired by the firm’s London store, with custom Wilkinson crystal chandeliers, matching raspberry silk upholstered walls and custom-fitted jewelry cases. Webster said the Saks boutique would drive interest and attention to Garrard in the U.S.

“Garrard needs a high-traffic position in America,” he said. “We’ve had the salon in SoHo for a couple of years, but it’s almost too elitist.”

Scott Erdman, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for jewelry at Saks, said Garrard would benefit the retailer.

“This is a rare opportunity to establish a relationship and presence in our flagship store with a strong luxury brand in early stages of its growth and development in the U.S.,” Erdman said. “Our interest in Garrard stems from its very limited distribution, the exclusivity in the market for Saks with a brand that has a very long history in the luxury sector. In addition, the product offering has a fresh, modern sensibility across a broad range on the price spectrum.”

The company plans to open freestanding stores in the U.S. and abroad, along with in-store boutiques and wholesale distribution.

Garrard recently opened a shop in the Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates. It also has some wholesale accounts, including London Jewelers in New York, Isetan in Japan and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.

Chapman’s collection, which comprises about 40 styles, will be sold at all Garrard outposts this month. The collection incorporates design tenets used in Marchesa, such as feathers, tassels and drapery.

“I want the girls wearing it to feel fresh, young and not like they’re wearing their mother’s jewelry,” Chapman said. “Stones can be overwhelming on a young person. I wanted it to feel easy to wear to a cocktail or a dinner…and that would look great with a black dress.”

The line runs from top-tier high-jewelry pieces to accessibly priced sterling silver jewelry embedded with diamonds and other stones — new for Garrard, known for its ultraexpensive jewelry, which averages from $10,000 to $15,000 at retail.

There are delicate ruby shoulder-dusting earrings set in blackened gold, as well as a pavé diamond cocktail ring, which mimics the soft drapery of a Marchesa gown. There are many pieces inspired by birds. A sapphire-and-diamond cocktail ring in the shape of a mythical bird in flight is a key piece, as is a $65,000 collar with sapphires and diamond fixed with a large sapphire cabochon at the bird’s head.

The silver pieces start as low as $825 at retail and include a double-finger ring in the shape of a wing, topped off with diamonds and an amethyst.

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