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So we understand that the UES is pretty empty during these hotter, muggy days of summer, but is that really an excuse for the diamond dealers of Madison Avenue to play real estate roulette? Taking a walk down Madison Avenue from East 65th Street to East 61st Street, an area already known for a concentration of diamonds and couture, we were struck by all of the "we're relocating" signs on most of the famous names.
Since these are small blocks with large reputations, most boutiques have only confusingly decided to relocate across the street, making for quite a lot of inbreeding among jewelry stores. Guidebooks around the world may need to be reprinted, but of course we've already laid it all out nicely for you.
· Graff: Entering this French diamond dealer's current space at 721 Madison gives you the feeling of being a 1920s New Yorker cartoon of an unrepentant big spender. This is probably why they are ditching the Greek edifice for a more open, corner spot at 710 Madison and East 63rd, which just happens to be the old Givenchy HQ. Graff's new digs are supposedly to open later this summer, but the site is just as quiet as it was last year.
· Di Modolo: In case you are shopping a bit further south, perhaps at the insitutions of Tiffany & Co and Harry Winston over on Fifth Avenue, then it might be worth it to stop into Di Modolo's current spot at 635 Madison and East 59th Street for their relocating sale of 30-40% off. Get their serious-chic pieces before they move up north with the others, to 703 Madison between Chopard and Hermès.
· David Yurman: This jeweler, relatively new to the scene as the business only began in 1979, is famous for his silver cable rope pieces and for generally not shoving an illustrious history in your face while you try to buy a freaking ring. Currently on the corner of Madison and East 64th Street, David will be relocating to the old 7,000-square foot Lalique space across the street at 712 Madison, squeezing in between the new Graff and Mauboussin shops in October.
New to the Game
· Kwiat: Compared to the first three mentioned, this jeweler's name may be a bit unfamiliar, but they had their claim on New York first. Back in 1907, Kwiat operated their first store for diamond wholesale down on Canal Street before dismissing storefronts in general. Well they'll be returning later this summer, with a single store opening in the former Chopard space at 725 Madison
· Mauboussin: The grand opening due in September for this 180-year-olf French jeweler may be the most interesting of them all; their 7,000-square foot space at 714 Madison in the old Shanghai Tang boutique boasts a chocolate "bar" and a VIP loft apartment. Yes, fill up the women with chocolate and they're feeling more relaxed about dropping a couple thousand.
· Carat: The jeweler with a name that sounds the most genuine is actually the opposite. As we reported yesterday, Carat sells (expensive) costume jewelry and will be doing so closer to the tourists as 509 Madison and East 53rd Street.
· Chopard: They shouldn't be going anywhere for a while seeing as how they only nudged in at 709 Madison last fall, next to Hermès and what will be the new Di Modolo.
· Di Grisogono: Oh man, these poor Swiss guys are way out of the loop up at 824 Madison. That's like, so far for people to walk to browse expensive things! It seems to be working for them though, as they've been at it in this location since 2004.
· Ivanka Trump Collection: As her first store thus far, Trump's daughter's collection of diamond jewelry sits near the new Anne Fontaine boutique at 683 Madison. It opened last September in partnership with the Dynamic Diamond Corporation, showing off items like $650 enamel rings up to $68,500 earrings. If she can put a price on something that is almost $70K, then we don't dare ask for the cost of a "price upon request" item.
· Leviev: A jewelry house designed for the hedge fund manager who just got his bonus, Leviev opened just before last Christmas at 700 Madison. Leviev happens to be the world's largest cutter and polisher of diamonds in competition with De Beers, so we're betting they have a pretty good selection.
· Pomellato: This little trinket house opened in 2006 at 741 Madison, bringing a slightly lower pricetag as well as more colorful offerings to the area. Pomellato is less about the formality of diamond jewelry and more focused on its sensuality, as is only proper for an Italian.