With a 10-year anniversary and a hot, new 14K gold collection, this New York-based jewelry designer has plenty of reasons to celebrate.
To many, Florence is a fabulous place to vacation, a lovely addition to a European holiday. But to others, Florence is so much more. The city is the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to some of the world’s greatest works of art. To walk down its well-worn cobblestone streets, to smell the delicacies at the Mercato Centrale or to view a sunset’s burnishing glow over the city’s terracotta rooftops and the Ponte Vecchio—these are experiences that can transform one’s soul.
The man behind the brand:
Phillip Gabriel Maroof
For New York jeweler Phillip Maroof, who studied in Tuscany during his college years and whose family has has produced their jewelry with manufacturers in nearby Arrezo, this magical city was the inspiration for his line of sterling silver and 18K gold jewelry that’s attracted more than its share of retailer and consumer fans over the years. The Phillip Gavriel Collection, introduced 10 years ago this spring, is Maroof’s love letter to the city, a versatile, affordable jewelry collection that embodies the style, grace and beauty of Firenze.
But perhaps more than anything, it’s also Maroof’s admiration for the heritage of Italian jewelry manufacturing that has been the impetus for his brand’s innovative and always-evolving design. A third-generation member of New York jewelry royalty (literally—his father and grandfather started New York-based Royal Chain Group in 1978), Maroof says he wanted to create an affordable designer jewelry collection that embodied Italian jewelry’s beauty and sophistication. The year was 2008, and a combination of high gold prices and the financial crisis saw jewelers and their customers asking for gold alternatives. To keep it affordable, Maroof would use silver with flourishes of 18K yellow gold and natural gemstones. Even today, the majority of the collection retails for less than $500 net with a 2.5 or 3-times mark-up—the “sweet spot” for sales and a number jewelers adore.
“We started slowly but received tremendous response from our retailers,” he says. In 2010, the Phillip Gavriel (both names are Maroof’s, the latter being the Hebrew spelling of his middle name, Gabriel) brand was officially registered. Today, there are multiple lines within the Phillip Gavriel Collection, including Italian Cable (one of its first and still most popular lines), Dragonfly, Woven Gold and Silver, Gem Candy and Popcorn.
There’s truly something for everyone. “Bracelets are always best-sellers. We ‘hook’ people into the collection with bracelets,” says Maroof. “It’s a big look and most of our styles retail for less than $500.” Almost 70% of the collection contains colored gemstones and despite the precious ingredients that go into the jewelry’s manufacturing, the entire collection is still highly affordable. “We like to call it ‘fine jewelry with a fashion jewelry price,’” says Maroof.
Since more and more jewelers were asking for all-gold items, this year the Popcorn line will debut in 14K yellow gold. Like all line extensions, the decision wasn’t made without testing. In 2016, Maroof added some 14K gold pieces to the Phillip Gavriel Collection just to see if it was accepted. “It was well received,” he says, adding that the addition of all-gold items give both jewelers and consumers a wider range of price points and styles. “People’s tastes and budgets change over time,” says Maroof. “We wanted to make sure we’re able to offer as many selections as possible.”
Retailers can expect the same level of advertising and merchandising support that they’ve come to expect from the company. From packaging and in-store graphics to social media and marketing support, Maroof says he works hard to help retailers build their business. “We offer an easy buy-in, a range of products at varying price points and plenty of marketing support,” he says. “The rest is up to the jeweler, but this is a line that really sells.” That salability is closely related to its versatility—this is jewelry that can go from daytime to nighttime with little effort. It’s stylish and sophisticated, but never “over the top.” It’s jewelry for daily life, including carpooling and a night out on the town.
Each year, Phillip returns to Italy to attend the Oroarezzo jewelry show to work on the new collections, see what’s new, be inspired and meet with friends he’s known for so many years. “I have the greatest respect for the craftsmanship and the passion for innovation that I see in Italy,” he says. “I always try to bring that same ‘passion for innovation’ to my work here in the United States. So far, I think it’s working.”
14K yellow gold Popcorn mesh cuff bangles with diamonds and gemstone accents. MSRP: Amethyst (BG2283) $1,150; Blue Topaz (BG2286) $1,200; Onyx (BG2285) $1,100
Popcorn tally cuff bangles in silver or with 18K gold accent and diamonds. MSRP: With 18K gold (SILF3660) $950; Silver only (PGCF3654) $575
Woven Collection bracelets in 14K gold. MSRP: All gold (AUBRC4587) $5,500; With diamonds (AUBRC5443) $6,500
Candy-colored birthstone pendants from the Popcorn Collection in silver and 18K gold. MSRP: Amethyst (SILSET2200) $99; Citrine (SILSET2201) $99; Garnet (SILSET2202) $99; Blue Topaz (SILSET2203) $99; Peridot (SILSET2204) $99; Onyx (SILSET2205) $99; Diamonds (SILSET2206) $250
Popcorn lariat tally necklace in silver and 18K gold with diamonds. MSRP: (SILF3662) $595
Woven 14K gold necklace with diamonds. MSRP: (AUNCK5439) $1,950