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FrontRunners: Brilliant Debut

Laurie Kahle

In a statement of its dominion in diamonds, De Beers (212.906.0001, www.debeers.com) is marking the debut of its first American store by exhibiting the world’s second-largest faceted D-flawless diamond, the pear-shaped, 203-carat Millennium Star. The famous stone is on display for one week at the two-story, 6,000-square-foot boutique, which is scheduled to open at the end of June on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan.

Alyce Alston, CEO of De Beers LV USA, says the company’s new store is intended to modernize and demystify the diamond-shopping experience. “It’s as much about what it is not: It’s not austere or cold, but warm and chic,” she explains. “The environment is not about the desk or counter and being sold.” Accordingly, couples can relax and enjoy the process of selecting stones and rings while seated at comfortable stools and couches at the bridal bar upstairs. The store’s Beauty Scan tool gauges the brilliance of the diamonds by revealing how light reflects off of their facets. “It’s like stepping inside a diamond,” says Alston. “You see every facet and cut as well as the symmetry of the cut.”

As one would expect, the De Beers store offers stones in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The jewelry ranges from studs and line bracelets to fashionable designer collections created by Raphaele Canot, the company’s artistic director. “We’re not just focused on big rocks,” says Alston, “but on unusual diamond jewelry.”

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