Puerto Rico store owner explains his selling approach to the 18K gold, Italian-made stylings of Opera Omnia.

 

LIDO JEWELERS will celebrate its 29th anniversary in November, and, as owner Isaac Demel points out, a store specializing in top-ofthe-line designer jewelry doesn’t survive that long without a lot of great names behind it — like Opera Omnia founder Massimo Zerbini, whom Demel has known and been a friend of for years. “He’s a genius in the way he’s handling his brand,” Demel says, “and I think his jewelry is simply gorgeous.” The 18K line is the handiwork of superb Italian artisans, and boasts a rich variety of colored gems. It isn’t for everyone — but to the right customers, it proves irresistible at any price. “Our clients get very excited about it,” Demel says. “When we have a trunk show, we schedule private appointments prior and show the pieces in a quiet setting. We don’t tell them what to expect. When they see a piece they love, they just hold it and don’t let go. I love it when I can’t get a client to take a piece off . That’s the best reaction, don’t you think?” — STORY BY JOSH WIMMER



HOW THE LINE STANDS OUT: “These times have been very diffi cult for many people, because so much has changed — especially the price of gold skyrocketing. One of the good things about Opera is that they have retained their goal of off ering high-quality gold designs. Most companies are diversifying, sticking with the designs but using more silver. Opera has stayed high-quality, no matter the price, continuing the spirit.”

ON THE LINE’S UNMISTAKABLE LOOK: “The collection is very whimsical; they’re not pieces you put away and forget about. The designs are very recognizable. Connoisseurs will know a piece by Opera immediately, and I think that’s an important attribute in any brand.”

HOW THEY SELL OPERA OMNIA: “We let customers look, because I think the jewelry has to call to the person. And when they’ve discovered it, we start explaining the background: that it’s 18K gold, the stones are top quality, it’s Italian-made. We make them try it on and try to match what they’re wearing to a piece in the case.”

WHO BUYS THE LINE: “90 percent of our customers are professional women who can buy jewelry themselves — doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs. They’re very smart ladies; they don’t have to ask anybody for a gift. They know what they want, they’re well traveled and very educated. And they set their own trends.”

THE FLEXIBILITY OF THE LINE: “One of the great things about Opera is that in the look they have created, there are pieces for the lady who likes a very small, minimalist design, and you can also fi nd something for the lady who likes huge pieces with lots of color or diamonds.”

ON THE DESIGNER’S PRICE POINTS: “The low end of the line is about $4,500, and it can go up to 30, 40, or $50,000. A person who buys a piece like this has to love what they buy, and they usually know what they’re doing.”

WHY HE SELLS OPERA PIECES IN SETS: “I always suggest that customers buy Opera pieces in a set, because the stone combinations can be so diff erent (and the stones are very individuated, so pieces can look different if they’re made at diff erent times). If you buy the earrings today, maybe next time you won’t be able to get the ring to match.”

ON THE QUALITY AS A BENEFIT TO THE RETAILER: “Opera pieces rarely come back for repair. Some other lines come back after we sell them missing diamonds or sapphires, but with Opera that just doesn’t happen.”

ON THE SUBTLE CRAFTSMANSHIP OF THE JEWELRY: “One lady bought an Opera necklace — it was a chain with a fl ower pendant in the center, champagne and white diamonds — along with duster earrings. After wearing it for weeks, she realized that the inside of the chain was studded with diamonds; there were diamonds throughout the whole piece. It was very understated. That’s something not every company does.”



1. Pink gold pendant from the Saba collection with multicolor sapphires and natural gemstones

2. Pink gold ring from the Halo collection with central morganite, brown diamonds and natural gemstones

3. White gold earrings from the Canouan collection with tsavorite, prasiolite and amethyst

4. Pink gold ring from the Canouan collection with orange sapphires, amethyst and Madera quartz

"Isaac is not only a friend, but also a strategic partner. His clients are the sort of select customers we are trying to reach, and
when he holds an event in his store for us, he pays particular attention to every single detail — just as we do with our jewelry.” MASSIMO ZERBINI, OPERA OMNIA

This story is from the September-October 2011 edition of INDESIGN

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