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Gucci New Generation Store in Rome

MILAN — Gucci is adding to the holiday sparkle in the Eternal City.<br><br>The luxury brand will unveil its first store dedicated to fine jewelry and timepieces in Rome on Saturday.<br><br>The 540-square-foot shop is located on the tony Via...

MILAN — Gucci is adding to the holiday sparkle in the Eternal City.

The luxury brand will unveil its first store dedicated to fine jewelry and timepieces in Rome on Saturday.

The 540-square-foot shop is located on the tony Via Condotti and reflects Gucci’s new generation store concept, developed by Tom Ford and Bill Sofield.

Slightly revised to enhance the glittering baubles, the space is decorated with contrasting materials: shiny steel shelves, hematite details and mirrors counterbalance an exclusive amalgam of woods, suede and soft carpeting.

The lighting system, which creates a play of light and shade that sets off a muted palette of brown, gray and beige, reinforces the message with suffused table lamps that temper the cool fiber-optic lights that illuminate the showcases.

Jewelry is a fast-growing category for Gucci with sales up 12.8 percent, totaling about $39.6 million (converted from euros at the current rate), in the first half of 2002 against the same period in 2001.

“The success of and increasing demand for this product line has given us the confidence to expand this category,” said Domenico De Sole, chairman and chief executive officer of Gucci Group.

The new 50-piece collection was designed by creative director Ford especially for the store.

An evolution of Gucci’s sleek and graphic jewels found in the regular stores, these pieces accent gold, platinum and precious stones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Prices range from $3,000 for a yellow gold and diamond band to $350,000 for a white gold and diamond choker.

The store is yet another tassel in Gucci Group’s aggressive retail rollout, for which the company has invested $195 million this year.