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Kaufmann Headed to Madison

NEW YORK — The upper stretch of Madison Avenue is already teeming with prestigious jewelers, but that isn’t stopping Montreal-based jeweler Kaufmann de Suisse from joining the pack.<br><br>The company is slated to open a store the end of...

NEW YORK — The upper stretch of Madison Avenue is already teeming with prestigious jewelers, but that isn’t stopping Montreal-based jeweler Kaufmann de Suisse from joining the pack.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company is slated to open a store the end of April at 785 Madison Avenue between East 68th and 69th Streets, in the space that was formerly the Enrique Martinez boutique. This will be the third store for the firm, which is known for its bold gemstone jewelry. Its other stores are in Palm Beach, Fla., and Montreal.

“We are a boutique store and this is a great location for us,” said Charles Kaufmann, vice president of the company, who will manage the unit. “We want to be where there are a lot of jewelers, since the clientele will already be there.”

The 2,500-square-foot, two-story location is being remodeled with a limestone facade, while the interior will have white marble walls and a fountain and chandelier.

The company was founded by E. Pius Kaufmann, a native of Switzerland who moved to Montreal and opened a store on Crescent Street there in 1954. Its jewelry includes plenty of diamonds and large gemstones, much of it set in 18-karat gold and platinum, and all of the pieces are made on the premises. Price points start at about $3,000 for a gold ring and go up to $20,000 for some of the larger stones, with much of it falling in the range of $7,000 to $8,000.

Kaufmann declined to give the company’s overall sales, but he projects the store will reach sales of about $5 million to $10 million within a few years.

The stretch of Madison Avenue in the 60s is teeming with at least a dozen high-end jewelers, including Graff, Bulgari, Aaron Basha, Fred Leighton and Chanel’s fine jewelry boutique.