Chinese fine jewelry brand Qeelin – a favorite of celebrities like Katy Perry, Kate Winslet, Marc Jacobs and Mischa Barton – has been acquired by PPR, a French conglomerate whose other brands include the Place Vendome jeweler Boucheron and watch brands Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard.
“It’s not a brand we bought for the Chinese. We bought it for its Chinese DNA,” said Alexis Babeau, managing director of PPR’s luxury division.
Queelin is well admired for its contemporary designs that incorporate such classic Chinese images as pandas, lotuses, and wulu fruit. The brand was founded in 2004 by chairman and creative director Dennis Chan and Frenchman Guillaume Brochard, CEO, who will retain their roles. Chan’s muse, Chinese actress Maggie Cheung wore some of his earrings while accepting the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004 and the brand took off.
“Qeelin uniquely translates Chinese inspiration into fine contemporary jewelry design and shows strong growth potential in China and beyond,” stated PPR chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault. “We thus have great ambitions for the brand and will make it benefit from our expertise and know-how, so that it can speed up its development.”
The jewelry label has 14 boutiques (7 on the Mainland, 4 in Hong Kong, and 3 in Europe) and sells through wholesale accounts worldwide. Shops-in-shop are doing well in the UK, particularly at Selfridges and Harrods.
Qeelin’s collections include gold, platinum, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and jade, with prices starting at about $2,585 and scaling up to $38,775.
Pinault believes the brand has huge growth potential, particularly as accessory-hungry buyers emerge from the 3 billion young and affluent consumers in China and other developing nations.
Earlier this week, a Bernstein Research Report announced that, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.8 percent over the last five years, and per capita spend on apparel growing at 11.3 percent despite the global recession, China is now the second largest apparel market in the world after the United States.
While terms were not disclosed, PPR said the transaction will be finalized in January.
photo credit: qeelin