Plevé: The Man, The Method, and The Modern Day Mosaic

Design Feature

Jewelry Designer, Ron Rizzo, has accomplished many things in his 30+ years in the jewelry industry. As a student, he won a design contest from the Fashion

Plevé Creator and Designer  Ron Rizzo

Plevé Creator and Designer
Ron Rizzo

Institute of Technology, has won a World Gold Council’s Designer Award, was named Niemen Marcus’ top selling fashion jewelry line for 5 years in the 90’s and successfully opened his own retail boutique, creating every piece of jewelry that is sold. However, his latest accomplishment, creating an entirely original jewelry design technique, is one that few others can lay claim to. This new patented method spawned his latest brand; a fresh, colorful, burst of originality simply named Plevé (pronounced pluh-vay), that celebrities, consumers and independent jewelers are raving about!

Ron experienced a great deal of success in his early years of jewelry design, but when changing styles of the 90’s lowered the demand for costume jewelry, he realized that fine jewelry trends had much more longevity. After the events of 9/11, Ron did some serious soul searching. This led him to open a retail boutique in the bohemian town of Sea Cliff, New York, where he lived with his family. His retail store did extremely well, with customers traveling in from the city and even as far as New Jersey to buy his hand crafted masterpieces. Business did so well that he happily moved his store to a more populated area. Little did he know that the market crash of 2008 would soon follow. Looking around his new store, Ron tried to stay positive, but couldn’t help but be saddened by the state of affairs.

“I’ve always found that whenever I’m feeling down, getting into a creative state is the only thing that can bring me out of it. I began working on something new, not thinking about who would buy it, but just trying to create something that felt right in the moment. Depression Era art is quite creative. It fosters ingenuity. When times are good, artists are just thinking about expansion,” Ron explains.

While in his workshop, Ron noticed a lot of loose stones that had accumulated. He didn’t want to buy anything new, but wanted to create something that allowed him to use the multiplicity of stones that he already had. His ran his finger over the pile of diamonds, which were similar in size but varied in shape. They lay next to each other in such a way that Ron instantly became inspired. This mosaic style look is what he decided to try and replicate.

Ron tried many different techniques to achieve this, even experimenting in glassblowing, before his work with enameling led him to the method that is now used for Plevé. Shortly after, Ron tried to teach an intern from a local art school how to mimic his process. He knew that without the ability to replicate the technique, it was art, not a business. Luckily, it was a transferrable skill that Ron used to create his new collection and soon began selling it in the store. Word of Ron’s new pieces spread quickly through the community and caught the interest of Scott Saunders, Executive Vice President of Sales for Plucznick, a very large diamond sight holding company. Scott encouraged Ron to talk to his employers, who, even in its rough stage, saw the potential of his brand. The Plucznicks secured international patents and upgraded his materials to fine quality stones and precious metals. Six months later, Plevé was being sold in Saks 5th Avenue and was corporately identified as one of the top 5 emerging brands for the entire store, not just the jewelry department.

Plevé is now two years old and has been growing rapidly. It is currently sold in 16 Saks 5th Avenue stores and is working with roughly 25 top independent jewelers, such as Lee Michaels, London Jewelers, and Davidson and Licht. They offer 10 named collections, including top sellers like Cinnamon, Ice and Ómbre, which feature natural colored diamonds with color enhanced diamonds, sapphires and tsavorites to create this artistic look, offering retail price points of $1,800-$35,000. Ron knows that he has broken ever rule in the book in this business, such as grading stones based on color and relativity to other stones and hiring fresh, American art school grads to create his pieces, but he doesn’t care! Unique is what sells in today’s market and everything about this brand is just that; from the original technique used to create it, to the variety of styles they offer appealing to all types of women. In today’s world, a new style is generally just a fresh twist on an already existing idea or design, but Plevé truly has pushed the envelope and brought us something original. Something beautiful. Something sellable.

Plevé is a revolutionary concept that no one else is doing and that VERY few retail stores currently carry. That in itself is something your customers will get excited about! This is an extremely unique style and a patented process, so nothing too similar should come to market. Because of this, there is a significant point of difference for stores who carry the line: No two pieces are exactly the same and your competition will not have it! Plevé gives retail partners exclusive distribution in their area and retailers currently carrying the brand experience a 50-80% sell through rate. They also offer extensive in store training and trunk shows for participating retailers, along with a LIFETIME guarantee on every piece to back up the quality of their designs.

Today, consumers want something that they won’t see on everyone else. They want something that is handcrafted, high quality and American made. Plevé offers all of that, with an artsy look that is the perfect mix of fashion and fine jewelry. Engage your customers with the interesting story behind this brand and quickly watch their eyes light up and their wallets open! JBA

Visit www.plevediamonds.com to see the full collection. To inquire about becoming a retail partner, contact Scott Saunders at 212.813.1110. When you mention that you discovered Plevé in JBA Magazine you will receive extended payment terms on your first order!

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Author:Jewelry Business Advisor

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