By and  on November 5, 2007

In today's highly populated fine jewelry market, where newness often garners more praise than timelessness, Verdura continues to do its own thing.

The jewelry firm doesn't offer seasonal or even new collections, nor is it a huge advertiser. The company prefers a more cocktail party, word-of-mouth type of marketing strategy than billboards and bus stop signage.

But that doesn't mean Verdura is standing still. The brand that offers up baubles for the Upper East Side set with a clubby Fifth Avenue retail environment is expanding its reach with a new London salon. In celebrating its 70th anniversary this month, Verdura also is releasing a limited edition piece, the Icon Bracelet, which is an homage to founder Fulco Santostefano della Cerda, Duke of Verdura, known as Fulco di Verdura. The style is a combination of Verdura's most popular charms on its rope chain and only 100 will be produced, each featuring the signature V logo, Verdura seashell, wrapped heart, comedy and tragedy mask, Maltese Cross and chessman.

In tandem with the bracelet's release is a retrospective exhibition titled "Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler," at the Houston Museum of Natural Science beginning Nov. 16.

Since Fulco di Verdura's heyday in the Forties until his death in 1978, the firm has switched hands but hasn't lost the integrity of the craftsman's original treasures. The size of its archives are so vast, the original designs so directional and focused, that Verdura doesn't feel the need to create new pieces, only breathe life into old ones.

Clients who have invested in pieces such as the style of emerald necklace worn by Brooke Astor or the pink topaz earrings that also were purchased by Doris Duke know they would maintain or grow their value.

"With Verdura, you can wear the same piece that Greta Garbo wore," said Verdura president Michael Heitner. "Not a lot of brands out there have that direct link to history and we don't make that many pieces, so if you have a brooch you bought from us, there may only be 10 others in the world. It's a unique selling point for us."

Not only does the jewelry preserve Verdura's roots, but the firm's retail presence is in line with the way Fulco operated. Verdura doesn't maintain a freestanding store, and its Fifth Avenue salon is more like a club: Few know how to visit it except for clients, their friends, or tourists staying in the right hotels with the right concierge.

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