By  on August 4, 2008

Indian jewelry firm Tanishq began its U.S. expansion in July, unveiling its first American store in the Chicago suburbs and plans to open 25 to 30 more shops in the next three years.

Tanishq, which operates 108 boutiques in 73 cities in India, falls under Titan Industries Ltd., one of India’s top producers of watches and jewelry. Titan Industries is part of the $70 billion Tata Group.

The jewelry company’s inaugural 1,900-square-foot location at the Woodfield Mall in suburban Schaumburg will be followed by a second store opening at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., this fall. None of the additional projected 25-plus shop locations have been finalized, said Gaurav Bhuwan, head of sales operations for Tanishq.

Tanishq (pronounced ta-neeshk) chose a Midwest launch due to Woodfield Mall’s high traffic and tourist numbers, in addition to Chicago’s strong sense of design relayed through its architecture, Bhuwan said. The brand produces 18-karat gold and white gold rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and brooches ranging in price from $98 for an 18-karat charm on a silk cord to $11,300 for a one-of-kind floral piece with diamonds.

In the Schaumburg store, where Bhuwan projects annual sales of $2 million, jewelry is grouped by collection and presented in an intimate gallery-like, garden-inspired setting complete with live greenery lining much of the upper edges of the store’s walls.

Rather than encountering large cases filled with jewels upon entry, shoppers are encouraged to meander through the store with some jewelry displayed at eye level on walls and other products in lower cases. The store also has a lounge area stocked with books on photography, art, music and jewelry.

“People are looking for a stress-free, relaxed environment,” said Bhuwan, who compared the store to a garden with winding paths leading to its Lotus, Spring and Yoga collections. “They’re seeking a place they can connect with.”

In turn, employees share the stories behind each collection, some of which change seasonally. Current assortments include the Lotus collection which incorporates 18-karat white and yellow gold, pink sapphire, keshi pearls, carved rock crystal and diamonds in jewelry ranging in price from $400 to $11,300, including a three-strand 18-karat white gold necklace with rock crystal beads and diamond lotus flower and swirl pendant for $4,899.

The Yoga collection features fluid shapes with diamonds for $300 to $2,400, including an 18-karat white gold ring with a single suspended diamond for $670. The Spring collection consists of delicate floral shapes with garnet, rose quartz and amethyst retailing for $500 to $4,200, including an 18-karat gold necklace with ring-shaped pendant adorned with three hand-carved garnet flowers clustered around diamonds for $1,698.

Continuing with its more natural theme, Tanishq also boasts recycled wood floors and some muted display cases designed to resemble adobe walls. Jewelry is packaged in silk-lined boxes made of teak wood.

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