By  on July 2, 2007

The hippie chick has grown up — and she wants jewelry.

Kym Gold-Lubell intends to give it to her with BabaKul, a new line based around star, moon, peace sign and flower icons that will hit stores in August. By mixing materials and focusing on textures, Gold-Lubell, along with partners D. Joseph Bortoli and Nubar Boyadjian, hopes to inject the formal fine jewelry market with casual designs for everyday wear.

"It was something that was a little more organic and laid-back because everything seemed a little too formal, too dressy," Bortoli said during a recent visit to BabaKul's airy loft on Abbott Kinney Boulevard, an eclectic thoroughfare in Venice, Calif., that features small eateries, bars, boutiques and modern work spaces. Gold-Lubell added, "You can wear our big cocktail rings with a pair of jeans. It can take you from day to night."

Leather, brushed sterling silver and matte gold, in 10-, 14- and 18-karat white, yellow, green and rose, are used extensively in BabaKul, as is amethyst and quartz in clear, smoky and lemon varieties. Cocktail rings, from $350 wholesale for sterling to $2,120 for 18-karat with amethyst, and corded charm bracelets, ranging from $75 wholesale for sterling silver to $190 wholesale for 10-karat yellow gold, have been popular purchases so far.

"I think our stuff is really price-conscious. We are mindful of that," said Gold-Lubell. "We are not trendy. I want people to have a piece that they are going to have forever."

Gold-Lubell noted stores have been keeping the prices down by picking up the silver items and the 14- or 10-karat offerings rather than the 18-karat pieces. In addition, BabaKul is able to rein in costs by making the jewelry at its own Burbank, Calif., production facility run by Boyadjian, who founded jewelry manufacturer NBN Creations in 1986.

Gold-Lubell estimates that BabaKul will generate at least $2 million in first-year retail sales at about 250 boutiques and a handful of luxury department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York. She also intends to enter Japan and Canada, but does not foresee international business constituting more than 20 percent of sales in the first year. "My expectations usually come to fruition,'' she said. "If they don't, I make them."

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