Fabergé returns to jewellery brand roots

LONDON - Fabergé, famous for its jewel-encrusted eggs, is returning to its roots as a luxury jewellery brand after giving miner Gemfields Resources an exclusive 15-year licence to use the name on coloured gemstones, excluding diamonds.

Gemfields has completed the arrangements with Fabergé parent Pallinghurst Resources and said that it plans to use the Fabergé name for "high-end, conflict free and ethically mined gemstones of guaranteed provenance".

The Fabergé gemstones will be individually numbered to provide a guarantee of provenance.

Rajiv Gupta, founder and executive vice-chairman of Gemfields, said that the Fabergé-branded gemstones will be available to a number of carefully selected partners and customers from 2009.

Gemfield Resources is run by Sean Gilbertson and ultimately controlled by his father, the mining magnate Brian Gilbertson.

The Gilbertsons believe that by combining the Fabergé name and a guarantee to consumers of their gemstones' ethical sourcing they will create a powerful international franchise in the precious stones industry.

The move will take Fabergé, which had made detours into cosmetics and aftershave, back to its roots as a luxury jewellery brand.

Fabergé was founded in 1842 in St Petersburg by goldsmith Carl Fabergé and went on to win the custom of the royal family for its jewel-encrusted eggs.

After the Russian revolution, Eugene and Alexander Fabergé started a new business in Paris but according to Fabergé history ceded the brand name to Sam Rubin of the United States for $25,000 after being unable to afford litigation to stop him using the name on perfumes and jewellery.

The brand name changed hands twice more before being bought by Unilever for $1.55bn in 1989.

Unilever sold the entire global portfolio of trademarks, licences and associated rights relating to the Fabergé brand to Pallinghurst Resources at the beginning of 2007.

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