Revived jeweler Faberge seeks ultra rich online

Wed Sep 9, 2009 2:04pm EDT
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By Eric Onstad

GOODWOOD HOUSE, England (Reuters) - Revived luxury firm Faberge, whose namesake designed jewel-encrusted eggs for Russian Tsars, plans to sell its first collection of jewelry pieces worth up to $7 million each to the ultra rich on the Web.

The privately-held group is aiming to break into the competitive luxury goods market with limited investment during a downturn and eventually challenge giants like Bulgari, Tiffany and Cartier.

"We decided to be bold. We saw this as a massive opportunity," Chief Executive Mark Dunhill said at a launch on Wednesday.

Faberge seeks to lure the wealthy through its website showcasing jewelry encrusted with thousands of gems, then consummate sales with private showings.

It will save millions of dollars of investment by eschewing the traditional mode of selling at strings of luxury boutiques and initially will have only one shop in Geneva.

"You're taking a very big risk if you are building a network of stores," said Dunhill, former president of Alfred Dunhill, the leather and accessories brand of Swiss luxury goods maker Richemont.

"We are embarking on a pioneering business model."

Faberge wants to break into a sector that is seeing a deep slump overall, but where top names are still spending huge amounts to attract the rich.   Continued...

<p>The Renaissance Faberge egg is displayed during the exhibition "Treasures of Imperial Russia" in Croatia's Adriatic town of Dubrovnik on November 3, 2007. REUTERS/Nikola Solic</p>