By and  on August 14, 2006

Graff AND Audemars Piguet are bringing their fine touch to Florida's Bal Harbour Shops.

The 50-year-old, London-based diamond jewelry firm and the 131-year-old Swiss watch brand are both opening up retail spaces in the luxurious shopping mall that is already home to Tourneau, Piaget, Cartier, Chopard, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Harry Winston, Graff, Chanel Joaillerie and David Yurman.

Graff, known for its large yellow and white diamonds and high-quality rubies, emeralds and sapphires, opens its Bal Harbour boutique on Tuesday. It wll be the fifth U.S. store for the brand.

"We've been opening one store per year, which is unheard of for a high jewelry company," said Henri Barguirdjian, president and chief executive officer of Graff in America.

The company also has stores in Las Vegas, Chicago, Palm Beach, Fla., and Manhattan. Plans for a 2,500-square-foot store in Beverly Hills in October have been pushed to 2008.

The 1,000-square-foot Bal Harbour store follows the theme of all other Graff shops, with neoclassical styling featuring bespoke furnishings, frescoed ceilings and mahogany wall vitrines.

"The Bal Harbour mall is one of the most successful malls per square foot in America," Barguirdjian added. "Miami is going through a fabulous change these days."

The average price point within a Graff store is $200,000 and the vertically integrated firm mines and cuts its diamonds in Johannesburg.

Also on Tuesday, the company will unveil its 400-square-foot in-store shop at Saks Fifth Avenue's Manhattan flagship, where it has had a small selling area since 2003.

"Graff offers some of the finest diamonds in the world and represents an important luxury brand within the jewelry world at Saks Fifth Avenue," Jennifer deWinter, senior vice president of Saks, said in a statement. The retailer carries Graff jewelry in eight of its doors.

"Florida is a big market for us," said François-Henry Bennahmias, president of Audemars Piguet North America. "First of all, Audemars Piguet has always been a strong brand with South Americans and this area is a gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. Also, as opposed to say, Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, here you will get people who walk into the store and are interested in buying. It delivers the real business."

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