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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Savelli Jewelry Smartphone

The Savelli Emerald Iguana phone uses a mix of polished stainless steel and 18-carat red gold with Iguana leather

A smartphone that is a luxury jewel. That is what the Savelli phone is being billed as and it seems to be the proper way to describe this device that merges technology and luxury craftsmanship.

Marketed exclusively to women, it sources precious gems and metals, exotic leathers and many of the same hand-crafted artisan techniques that are used for luxury jewelry and watches. It also commands a price that cements it as a luxury purchase.  

18k rose gold set with 395 white and cognac diamonds in a snow setting (4.68 carats)

The cost for the phone runs from $8,625 to $112,500 with the most expensive phone being a limited edition piece made of 75 baguette-cut emeralds (4.5 cts.) and 900 brilliant-cut diamonds (12.5 cts.) with a retail price of $167,500.

The Savelli contains a proprietary operating system based on a Google Android platform. It is not the first company to try to enter the luxury market for smartphones (Vertu is the largest player) but it is arguably the first to associate fine jewelry and watchmaking artisan techniques to such an extreme level. 

The back of the Python phone is made of Python leather with a stainless steel top
Alessandro Savelli co-founded the company in 2011 at Columbia University with luxury expert, Ketty Maisonrouge, who heads an MBA luxury business program at the school. The Italian native is a former investment banker whose family is in the jewelry business in Italy. The business is based in Geneva and the smartphones are crafted in Switzerland, utilizing artisans associated with the country’s dynamic watch industry. The first phones were unveiled in 2013. 

Savelli has spent a great deal of time finding investors, developing the proprietary operating system, finding craftspeople, developing a retail network and marketing the product. The shape of the watch alone was a two-year project. 

The top of the Ruby Passion is set with 395 brilliant-cut Gemfields rubies and the 18k yellow gold is set with 144 brilliant-cut diamonds in a ‘rain setting’ technique. Limited to eight pieces.

There are at least 13 variations of the Savelli smartphone. The most recent is the Ruby Limited Edition, the second phone created in collaboration with Gemfields, an emerald and ruby supplier that often partners with jewelry designers. The company also does bespoke models.

Each smartphone begins with a single dome of sapphire glass fashioned and polished to a curved shape. The 18k gold or steel and ceramic surrounding is sculpted and curved to give the phone the feel and appearance of a single, smooth piece. The leather (whether alligator, ostrich, python or another exotic animal) that covers the back of the phone is handled by a French atelier. 

18k rose gold with white ceramic and "Caramel Nappa" leather

The top of the phone—whether made of smooth ceramic, diamonds or gems—provides a different look when viewed from the top or front of the phone. The slender Savelli “S” shape logo is used as highlights on the volume buttons, the phone’s back and other areas. 

One has to remember it is a phone that runs on a customized Google android operating system with 32GBs of internal storage, a high-resolution 3.2-inch display and a front and back camera. It also comes with it comes with UBER, SwiftKey and Whatsapp apps.

The back of this phone is made of blue ostrich leather

Savelli, says there are about 20 points of sale, almost all in Europe, including Harrods in London and Kronometry 1999 in Paris. He wants to expand further into the Middle East, and into the Asia, and the US. 

Even though it’s being marketed as a jewel he says the most likely outlets are luxury watch retailers. 

75 baguette-cut white diamonds (7.88 cts.) cover the top design element in the "Black Insane" phone.

This leads to the question, is it jewel? A phone? Or even a wearable? 

Or does it really matter?

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

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