Silicon Valley’s Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry could open additional showrooms across the United States and potentially overseas in the future as its primary showroom business grows, according to Jared Silver, the company’s president.
Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry was created by Jared Silver’s father Stephen in 1980 as a West Coast wholesale jewelry business, 15 years before the dotcom bubble began to inflate and turn the largely arable area into some of the richest real estate on earth populated with technology giants and venture capital firms.
The jeweler moved into retail when global luxury hotel group Rosewood opened a 5-star resort property in Menlo Park near Palo Alto, just a mile from Stanford University. “The first space was 100 square feet, about the size of a cloakroom,” Mr Silver recalls.
It is notoriously difficult to make retail showrooms in hotels profitable, but a combination of Rosewood becoming a fine dining and pampering destination for the whole of Silicon Valley, and the fact that there are over 50 billionaires living within a stone’s throw of the jeweler, meant that the business boomed and needed to move into its much larger current space.
As the younger Mr Silver (who only turns 30 next year) took over the running of the business from his father, he made the decision to expand from selling only jewelry into luxury watches.
With the help of Andrew Block, an industry veteran who spent 20 years at the top of Tourneau and joined the board of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry in 2014, Mr Silver traveled to Switzerland to persuade the country’s most prestigious brands they should work with the jeweler.
The shuttle diplomacy took time and considerable expense, but has now secured a portfolio of ultra high end marques including Richard Mille, F.P. Journe, Laurent Ferrier and Greubel Forsey.
Most of the ten brands are independent, family-owned watchmakers producing tiny quantities of pieces; under 100 pieces per year in many cases, but often with six-figure price tags.
“Silicon Valley is all about innovation, independence and creativity,” says Mr Silver. “The brands we work with share these values.”
The plan to open additional showrooms are still in their infancy. Mr Silver would not disclose where the next store would be, but said it would have to tick the same boxes as the Silicon Valley mother ship in terms of proximity to wealthy customers, a luxury environment where customers can enjoy more than just a shopping experience, and a territory where the watch brands are not already represented.