Byline: Georgia Lee

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Responding to the growing importance of designer names in fine jewelry store assortments, Miami-based Mayor’s has launched a new store format called the “designer gallery.”
“More and more, people want to express themselves through what they wear and give, but there’s too much sameness in department stores and chains,” said Samuel Getz, chief executive officer of Mayor’s, the 24-unit retailer with locations in south Florida and Atlanta. “We have to separate ourselves from the pack by staying away from overdistributed, high-exposure lines in favor of the unique.”
On Oct. 15, Mayor’s launched its new designer gallery prototype in its unit here in the Town Center Mall, expanding the existing store from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet. Mayor’s will roll out the concept to its larger stores over the next few years, Getz said.
The gallery area features about 15 designers in a rotating format. Mayor’s carries around 30 designer names. With a wide range of prices, looks and materials, the common denominator for the designers is distinctiveness, artistic expression and exclusivity to Mayor’s, said Getz.
“We’ve chosen many [designers] that are relatively unknown, but who still have a highly personal involvement with their work,” he said.
The gallery emphasizes each designer with a separate display and signs. The remodeled store features Italian green marble entry archways and cherry wood walls. Mayor’s also promotes each designer with advertising.
The debut roster includes Carolyn Ackerman, Antonini, John Atencio, Lillian Ball, Caroline Ballou, Whitney Boin, Pasquale Bruni Bossio, Carrera y Carrera, Tamara Comolli, Chris Correia, Leo de Vroomen, Rinaldo Gavello, Scott Keating, Jean-Francois Michaud and Alex Sepkus.
The designer boom is a relatively new phenomenon in fine jewelry, which can be trickier than ready-to-wear, acknowledged Getz.
“Unlike a piece of clothing, jewelry can’t be too trendy. It has to be something that can be enjoyed 20 years from now,” he said. “But it should be timeless without being too conservative or boring.”
Liberal use of color, unusual stones such as morganite, peridot or tourmaline and attention to detail and comfort characterize most of the designers featured at Mayor’s, Getz said.
The remodeled store here also has more space for watches, and features the new Mont Blanc collection, an in-store boutique for Patek Philippe and a video display of watch-making.
“People are fascinated with how things are made,” said Getz.
Although Mayor’s carries some crossover department store lines, such as Mikimoto, owner Getz said the store’s total focus is on special, expressive products.
“Even in something as basic as our own exclusive tennis bracelet, [designed by Pasquale Bruni Bossio], we’ve worked painstakingly on the design to give it special elements the customer won’t find elsewhere,” he said.

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