WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/graff-bows-at-saks-in-sept-753831/

NEW YORK — The House of Graff is dipping its toes into the wholesale business, marking the first time the upscale jewelry and watch firm has sold its products outside of its own stores.

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The London-based company, which operates four signature stores and is known for its large and fancy diamonds, will begin to sell its jewelry at three Saks Fifth Avenue locations next month, including the New York flagship.

“This is a big change for us, but one we feel we are ready for,” Henri Barguirdjian, Graff’s president in the U.S., said in an interview. “It’s a good way for us to get our name out.”

Saks, which is the only chain Graff has committed to working with at this time, will carry some similar products to what is available in Graff stores and will also have exclusive items. Graff’s jewelry ranges from about $4,000 up to $20 million for special pieces, with the bulk ranging between $200,000 and $250,000. Saks will carry Graff jewelry in the range of $10,000 to about $120,000, with many items selling for around $30,000.

Gail Pisano, executive vice president of merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue, said Graff is an important addition to its merchandise mix. Jewelry is a key category for the store. Last year, the flagship renovated and expanded its jewelry area, where it carries brands such as David Yurman, Cartier, John Hardy, Lisa Jenks, Robert Lee Morris and Roberto Coin.

“We will carry a significant presentation of Graff’s current white and gold diamond designs, as well as many exclusive, one-of-a-kind pieces,” Pisano said.

Barguirdjian declined to give projections for the new business, however, Graff has estimated retail sales of about $200 million, according to industry sources.

Graff, which entered the U.S. market last year with its store on Madison Avenue, is expanding on some other fronts, as well. The firm is readying a new U.S. corporate headquarters on 48th Street in Manhattan, which it will also use to begin selling diamonds to the U.S. market. As one of the 125 De Beers sightholders worldwide, Graff buys rough stones and supplies them to other jewelers through its offices in Antwerp and London, although it has never had an office in New York to distribute its diamonds.

In addition, the company is readying two new stores in Dubai and Moscow to open later this fall. It is also scouting locations for additional stores in the U.S., Barguirdjian said.