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NEW YORK — For Nathalie Martin Schettini, setting up her own accessories firm seemed like a natural progression in her career, having spent 15 years as an accessories executive, most recently as the director of Judith Jack’s leather goods division.
During that time, she started dabbling in design as a hobby, making bridal handbags and tiaras for private clients. But it wasn’t until Sept. 20 — when Judith Jack announced it was closing its leather goods division — that she made the decision to branch out on her own.
“It was a nice transition into this new company,” she said. “In a way, it was excellent timing. I was prepared. I felt like I had the wind down my back.”
The designer teamed up with her husband, Gabriel Schettini, a trained lapidary who until recently worked in international affairs, to launch Martin Schettini.
The company focuses on fine jewelry with an emphasis on the bridal area. Martin Schettini uses precious and semiprecious stones like ruby, emerald, blue topaz, Peruvian opal, tanzanite, amazonite and citrine set in 18-karat gold. Among the key items in the line are 18-karat yellow gold rings with a large faceted ruby or emerald stone, and mother-of-pearl leaf pendants engraved and adorned with gold beads. A dangley pair of gold earrings features a grouping of red onyx beads reminiscent of the juicy interior of a pomegranate. “Pomegranate is my favorite fruit,” she said.
Wholesale prices for the jewelry, which is manufactured on Manhattan’s 47th Street, range from $65 for silver disc pendants to $4,000 for an emerald ring set in diamonds and 18-karat gold. Martin Schettini said distribution is aimed at upscale specialty stores, with first-year sales projections of about $500,000. The line has already been picked up by stores such as Joseph in Memphis and Barbara/Jean in Little Rock, Ark.
“I have been thinking of doing this for many years,” Martin Schettini said. “I know that this is a crazy time, but coming from a well established company like Judith Jack, I really didn’t worry. I have a customer base and the desire to do it.”