Jewelers Hit the Hamptons

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — With more and more New Yorkers heading to the Hamptons each summer, jewelry retailers are following the crowds.<br><br>In an effort to provide for their customers during their weekend sojourns to the east end of Long Island,...

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — With more and more New Yorkers heading to the Hamptons each summer, jewelry retailers are following the crowds.

This story first appeared in the July 22, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In an effort to provide for their customers during their weekend sojourns to the east end of Long Island, three jewelers — Tiffany & Co., Mayfair Diamonds & Jewelry and London Jewelers— have each recently opened new boutiques in the tony beach communities of East Hampton and Southampton, N.Y.

Tiffany & Co. opened a striking boutique in the exclusive enclave of East Hampton. Located on Main Street amidst the bucolic setting of hundred-year-old oaks, a picturesque duck pond and a stately windmill, the 3,000-square-foot store blends in well with the small village shops. The quaint facade was kept intact in order to preserve the store’s historic provenance, which includes Shaker shingles, white wood framing and a balcony atop the first floor. The exterior is marked by the signature Tiffany blue awnings.

The store’s interior features a rich African hardwood, mirrored walls and double-height ceilings in the back of the space that offset a stunning square eight-foot skylight.

“The pull of natural sunlight gives a very nice expansiveness to the overall setting,” said Beth Canavan, executive vice president at Tiffany & Co.

Opening a store in East Hampton was an obvious move for the jeweler, which had sales of $1.61 billion last year.

“It’s a very vibrant, charming, active and stylish community with an appreciation for quality, and we felt we should be there,” said Canavan.

While the assortment of merchandise is naturally smaller than Tiffany’s Manhattan flagship, the majority of the company’s product categories are represented. This includes fine jewelry, engagement rings and watches, as well as pieces from Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso and Jean Schlumberger. China, crystal and baby gifts are sold there, as well.

While there are no definite plans for opening additional stores in such areas, it is something the company is looking into.

“We feel moving into the resort community is an approach we will continue to explore,” said Canavan.

She added that they are thrilled with the results of the East Hampton store.

“It was a delightful project because of the unique environment and different approach. We look forward to evolving with the community,” said Canavan. “We’re very happy with the outcome.”

Mayfair Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, which bills itself as “Long Island’s Couture Jeweler” and is owned by the Kulchinsky family, has just opened its third store at 100 Main Street in Southampton. The 1,000 square-foot corner store mixes Art Deco with a beach ambiance. Wide-striped walls of pale pink and charcoal coupled with distressed ceramic tiles and sand-colored wood displays help create the effect.

“We wanted to make it funky, yet intimate,” said Lauren Kulchinsky, vice president of Mayfair, “with a feeling of being outside and mixing all the elements, such as light and dark and masculine and feminine.”

The Southampton store will carry a diverse product mix ranging from cutting-edge designers such as Stephen Webster, Antonini, Rodney Rayner, Stefan Hafner and Elizabeth Rand to watches from Bedat & Co. and Jaeger LeCoultre.

“It’s just a couple of weeks in and believe it or not everything is selling,” she said. “We have both conservative diamond buyers along with artsy customers — the kind who change their handbag every season.”

Mayfair, which declined to give sales information, will be opening its fourth store this November in Woodbury, N.Y. Its two other stores are located in East Hampton and Commack, NY.

London Jewelers, which already has an outpost at 2 Main Street in East Hampton, just opened a boutique at 47 Main Street in Southampton. The jeweler decided that one Hampton location just wasn’t enough.

“We found that people just weren’t traveling as much within the Hamptons, as it is quite busy out here,” said Sande Finkel, director of marketing and advertising for London Jewelers. “During the summer it seems that south stays south and east stays east.”

The 1,600-square-foot boutique is decidedly smaller than its sister store in East Hampton, however no less elegant. Its stately white brick facade, French country decor within and hues of sandy beige on the walls and displays offsets the high-end offerings from brands like Rolex, Cartier, Mikimoto, Harry Winston and Bulgari. It also carries giftware from Christofle, Steuben, Lalique and Baccarat.

The jeweler sees these luxe brands as a great lure for shoppers.

“We are where Madison meets Fifth Avenue. We carry so many of the boutiqued brands, so shopping with us is like shopping in one of those stores,” said Finkel. “We’ve made it convenient for people to stroll through the village in Southampton and have these exclusive products available to them.”

London Jewelers, which declined to give sales information, now has five stores total, and the company is looking to open more.

“We’re just in the beginning of our growth spurt,” said Finkel. “This has been a good beginning and we’re still growing.”