It’s springtime in Milan and the city is aglitter.
That’s because jewelers Chantecler, Lucifer Vir Honestus, Balocchi Preziosi and Valente have recently opened or are scheduled to soon unveil stores here.
The freestanding boutiques will serve myriad purposes, from strengthening customer relationships to boosting the firms’ images, raising overall brand awareness and bringing a bit of bling to the city’s shopping scene.
Chantecler, for example, whose clients have included Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly and Jackie O, already has stores in Capri and Cortina d’Ampezzo, a tony ski resort in the Dolomites. However, they wanted to move to Milan to target a more international clientele, according to Costanza Eprea, the creative director at Chantecler, a family business based in Capri.
“We have a very direct and confidential relationship with our clients. We like to give advice, and if we need to discourage a lady without a swan neck from buying a heavy choker, we will,” said Eprea, adding that it takes some clients up to six hours to make their final decision on a jewel.
The Chantecler store opened last December on the central Via Santo Spirito and features midnight-blue carpeting, glass and steel fixtures and walls painted to appear like wood with a gold sheen. Retail prices range from $240 for a white gold bell-shaped trinket to $200,000 for a 40-carat diamond choker with pink “Conchi” pearls, which is beautifully displayed draped on an antique sedan chair.
Contrasting elements highlight the first Lucifer Vir Honestus store, which is filled with the funky collection designed by Luna Scamuzzi, an architect-turned-jewelry designer.
The tiny store, tucked away inside an old courtyard off the trendy Corso Como, fuses rustic tradition with modern design and features brick vaults, crystal and wrought iron tables, wooden mirrors and resin floors. Spotlit glass reliquaries draw attention to Scamuzzi’s bold shapes, including a silver ring for $120 and a white gold necklace encrusted with precious stones and diamonds that sells for $24,000. “I’m so pleased with the location. Corso Como has lots of trendy apparel stores that attract a varied and cool clientele,” said Scamuzzi.
When Livia Balocchi, the owner of Balocchi Preziosi, was looking for bigger office space, she seized the opportunity to enlarge with adjacent store space, too. “We said why not. A shop would be a reference point for the jewelry stores that carry our line and for our final consumers,” said Balocchi, adding that a custom-made program is also available.
Located on Via Brera, Milan’s answer to SoHo, the airy store features cream marble floors, banana yellow leather sofas, bitter-chocolate brown leather tables and wenge showcases, which display the bold looks that include a gold ring that sells for $1,000 and aquamarine and diamond rings that sell for $12,000.
Clients walking out of the new chichi Park Hyatt hotel, just behind the Duomo cathedral, will be easily distracted by the new Valente store, set to open at the beginning of June. The store was conceived to please all five senses. The gray stone floors are imbued with perfumed wax; chocolate trays are scattered here and there; soft music is in the background, and, of course, there will be exquisite jewels to be seen and touched.