Facts about Korbella™ and its Founders, The Bedells
How did they come up with the idea to make and sell jewelry featuring real pieces of the Eiffel Tower?
In 2011, Paul Bedell and his wife, Janel, and their 9-year-old daughter, Samantha, traveled to Paris for vacation. The trip made an indelible impression on Samantha: to this day, sketches and photos of the City of Light and the Eiffel Tower wallpaper the interior of her bedroom, and her eyes light up when she speaks of one day living there and attending university. For Mr. Bedell and his wife, the experience was romantic: intimate dinners overlooking the Parisian skyline, holding hands during strolls along the Seine, riding in horse-drawn carriages, and kissing beneath the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps most profound for him, though, was sharing the magic of Paris and its many charms with his family. Determined to find the perfect souvenir to commemorate their visit, the family scoured the landscape of tourist shops only to depart with an underwhelming selection of trinkets; think t-shirts, letter openers, coffee mugs, and other knick-knacks that fell well short of expectations, and spoke not at all of the powerful memories of the trip.
The family returned home with those memories, but also with an article torn from a hotel magazine about an auction of an Eiffel Tower staircase. Christie’s had auctioned off a piece of the Tower while the Bedells were on vacation in France, and they had missed the sale only by days! Mr. Bedell researched the topic further, and began his search to locate and purchase a Tower section to use to make fine jewelry, a lasting and suitable souvenir to help cement memories for his family and others forever.
Do the Bedells have any experience in the jewelry arena?
During his childhood, Mr. Bedell’s mother instilled in him an appreciation for timeless design and superior craftsmanship through her own collection of vintage European jewelry. So when he and his wife decided to launch their own jewelry business, beginning with Korbella’s ground-breaking Eiffel Tower Forever collection, Mr. Bedell’s deeply ingrained and sophisticated style savvy kicked in; with the help of master bench jewelers, the Korbella™ aesthetic was born. For her part, Janel loves beautiful jewelry and brings a discerning eye for detail, cultivated during her years traveling and living abroad. She serves as both inspirational muse and voice of the customer. Moreover, Janel is Korbella's brand ambassador and can be found perpetually chatting with customers, exchanging stories and memories of Paris.
How does the signature style of the jewelry reflect the Eiffel Tower structure?
Korbella’s Eiffel Tower Forever collection draws inspiration from the strong architectural cues of the Tower, including the ubiquitous X form—a nod to the Tower’s Art Nouveau roots—and its world-renowned latticework structure. From airy, circular pendant necklaces with negative space to fresh, stylized interpretations of the ever-popular heart, Korbella’s signature style is instantly recognizable and destined to become a covetable and contemporary classic design.
Does the jewelry in Korbella’s Eiffel Tower Forever collection actually contain a real piece of the Eiffel Tower from Paris, France?
Absolutely. The source of each Eiffel Tower artifact within Korbella’s Eiffel Tower Forever collection is an original Tower spiral staircase segment. Twenty-four stair sections that once connected the lower floors to the top of the Eiffel Tower were removed in 1983 for safety reasons; one piece remains on display at the Eiffel Tower—dressed in its original vermilion coat of paint—and three others were donated to French museums. The remaining 20 were auctioned off and made their way to all corners of the world to reside in private collections and museums.
The staircase segment that Korbella™ acquired was purchased from an owner who had already auctioned off a companion piece through Christie’s in June 2011. These staircase segments were featured in a 2011 episode of the National Geographic Channel® television show, Pricing the Priceless, where video footage showed the staircase being cut into two. In late 2011, Korbella acquired the upper, companion segment from the same seller, confident that if the experts at Christie’s had validated the authenticity of the lower portion, than his upper, companion piece must be genuine as well. Beyond that, Korbella had metal samples inspected, and conducted extensive comparisons and analyses with other specimens from across the globe, concluding that, without a doubt, what Korbella purchased was a genuine piece of the Eiffel Tower, constructed in Paris, France, in 1889.
To wit, each piece from Korbella’s Eiffel Tower Forever collection containing an Eiffel Tower artifact comes with a certificate of authenticity and a money-back guarantee, though special-order pieces are not eligible for return.
How do you actually fit a piece of the Eiffel Tower into jewelry?
Pieces of Korbella's portion of the Eiffel Tower are cut and polished into small round or square metal artifacts that are framed in sterling silver, 18k gold vermeil, or solid 18k gold (special orders only), and set into a range of jewelry styles.
Who makes the jewelry, and where in the world is it manufactured?
Korbella™ enlists highly skilled jewelers with decades of luxury brand experience to develop, produce, and finish its jewelry in the United States.
What kind of woman do you envision wearing your jewelry?
A wide range of women share an appreciation for the Eiffel Tower and all it symbolizes; in fact, the landmark appears to readily transcend age and demographics. The defining elements of women who wear Korbella™ jewelry are attitude and perspective; they are dreamers, idealists, and romantics who are fashion savvy, well traveled (perhaps already having visited Paris, or are aspiring to do so), enthusiasts of art, and lovers of jewelry and good design. The Korbella™ woman also values high-quality craftsmanship and the satisfaction that comes with wearing a unique and rare piece of jewelry that has never before been available. She might enjoy her personal piece of the Eiffel Tower Forever collection in private, content to reflect quietly on her special connection to Paris, or engage others with her piece as a unique conversation starter at a party or other social gathering. Like the jewelry and the Tower itself, the women wearing Korbella™ are timeless, passionate, and exude an irresistible joie de vivre.
How was the name Korbella™ selected, and what does it mean?
Korbella is a family name with origins in the Veneto region of Italy, and means “beautiful heart.” The Korbella™ logo features a stylized K with an entwined heart—a constant reminder of the Korbella™ commitment to create pieces that will touch the hearts of customers.
How much did Korbella™ pay for its authentic section of the Eiffel Tower?
Purchase prices reported publicly in recent years have been as high as $750,000, with some unofficial estimates hovering around $1 million. A study released in 2012 from the Italian agency, Monza and Brianza Chamber of Commerce, reveals that the Eiffel Tower is valued at more than a half a trillion dollars, ranking it the most valuable monument in Europe. Since Korbella's Tower portion was not acquired via a highly publicized auction, the sum paid will remain private, while the beauty and allure of Korbella™ jewelry is available for enthusiasts the world over to enjoy.
Where does Korbella house its Eiffel Tower staircase section?
The Eiffel Tower staircase is kept in a confidential, secure, climate-controlled warehouse location.
What happens when Korbella™ exhausts its supply of Eiffel Tower material?
The supply of Eiffel Tower material is, of course, exceptionally limited. When our supply is exhausted, production will cease forever. Interested parties are encouraged to make their purchases as soon as possible, as orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
What other jewelry is Korbella™ planning to introduce, and when will these pieces—including styles for men—be available for purchase?
Korbella™ energies are presently focused on the flagship Eiffel Tower Forever collection, which was designed for women. However, the company has already received inquiries about pieces for men, and will launch cufflinks shortly, as well as a collection of rhodium pieces, to complement the existing sterling silver and vermeil collections. Longer term, Korbella™ plans to expand its presence internationally via strategic collaboration with like-minded partners who share a commitment to creating and celebrating special moments in the lives of their customers.
Where can I purchase Korbella™ jewelry? Is it sold in stores?
Korbella™ jewelry is distributed primarily online through www.korbella.com. We are exploring partnerships with select retail locations and are pleased to announce the following physical distribution points:
Austin, TX: Sikara & Co. - 417 W. 2nd Street / (512) 476-1298
Paris, France: TBA