By  on September 10, 2007

Boucheron has a new cyberjewel in its crown.

On Wednesday, the French jeweler will launch, a sales site offering the full range of fragrance, watches and jewelry, including made-to-measure and customized items.

"This is a client-centric site and our mission is to serve," said Jean-Christophe Bedos, Boucheron's chief executive. "So many luxury jewelers have the problem of 'door phobia,' when potential customers are afraid to walk into a store because they fear they'll be judged. This site offers privacy, anonymity and all of the services they would get in the store, and they don't have to be afraid of asking too many questions."

Bedos said while the Internet used to be a "boys' toy" for shopping, more women are buying from home and the company is hoping to catch that customer, as well.

Although Boucheron is at the vanguard of jewelers taking their luxury offer on line, it is not the first in Europe. British jeweler Boodles launched an e-commerce site in early 2005, and the new site offers fine jewelry and diamonds by designers including Pippa Small, Carolina Bucci and Flora Astor.

De Beers, the diamond jewelry firm, launched e-commerce offering a selection of its pieces in the U.S. only this year, while Tiffany has had an e-commerce site for several years.

Bedos said the site will also offer wish lists, personal shopping and services for customers who want to save for specific purchases. It will also sell gift certificates.

The site will offer moving displays of the jewels and a zoom function for close-up inspections. There are options for hiding prices, creating price parameters for clients on a budget, and a printable sizing chart for rings and bracelets.

Bedos foresees some customers using the site to research a purchase and then going into the store to try on items, return them or simply ask questions. In addition, a Paris hotline will be available to customers to arrange deliveries or answer questions.

Every price point will be on offer — "Not just first price or commercial lines, like some other jewelry retailers," he said — and all deliveries will be made via UPS. Boucheron will deliver worldwide, and there are plans to extend the site to the U.S. and Japan.The customization service will allow clients to transform pieces from the Boucheron archive with the click of a mouse, sprinkling diamonds, emeralds and rubies where they want. The first design will be a chameleon brooch.

The made-to-measure service will be offered in conjunction with Thierry Robert, Boucheron's gemologist, who will source gems and help the customer match them with settings.

Bedos said that in a way the site is an extension of the service Boucheron provides to its big-spending customers. He said Boucheron staffers regularly hop planes to see specific clients and take orders. Now, he said, shoppers can buy Boucheron from their homes.

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