BASEL, Switzerland — Swarovski Group, the Austrian jeweler and crystal manufacturer, is poised to extend its move into fine jewelry beyond China.
Robert Buchbauer, chief executive officer of the group, said executives would decide before the end of the year whether to extend fine jewelry sales to Europe and potentially beyond.
“We are having strategic discussions on how to develop further and develop beyond China,” he said in an interview at the Baselworld watch and jewelry show.
Well-known in the U.S. and Europe for its crystal jewelry retailing for $200 to $400, the group four years ago targeted China to expanded upmarket, with items costing $500 to $1,000 and even some “statement pieces” priced between $5,000 and $8,000.
“That’s the sweet spot where we are going to play” in any European push, Buchbauer said. “That would be the next step.”
The Chinese initiative is “growing nicely” and showed that the brand could achieve credibility at such prices, he said. Unlike Swarovski’s mainstream products, the Chinese range includes diamonds and natural gemstones, explaining the much higher prices.
“We have a very high positioning in China” concentrated in monobrand boutiques, said Buchbauer, drawing a comparison with the “mom-and-pop stores” that traditionally sold the group’s crystal figurines in other markets. China had been specifically targeted for the move into higher priced pieces because consumers there were less aware of Swarovski’s other, lower-priced products.
Separately, Swarovski provided a preview of the new fashion jewelry line due in September in an exclusive multiyear licensing agreement with Karl Lagerfeld.
Pieces on display at Swarovski’s lavish Baselworld stand to generate media and retail interest were generally simple. The collection comes in three groups: “Ikonic,” standing for “rock classic”; “Classic Karl,” with items inspired by the designer’s distinctive signature as well as his pet cat Choupette, and “Essentials,” expressing elegance with a “classic twist.”
The collection, with items priced between 50 and 250 euros, or $53.50 to $267.50 at current exchange, includes distinctive asymmetric necklaces, pendants and bracelets, rings and earrings, often adorned with pearls or Swarovski crystals.