Cathy Borlenghi is no newcomer to the business of retail, but it's been more than a decade since she shuttered her handbag and leather accessories business. So it was not a complete surprise when she unveiled her latest endeavor — the MRS. B Collection of jewelry — with a gala evening at Valobra. Guests oohed and aahed and pulled out their credit cards as they fell in love with the collection designed around scaramazza pearls (think baroque).
"It is unique," she says of the collection. "Every piece is one of a kind, mostly because it is created around highly irregular fresh water pearls, Scaramazza pearls, that dictate an individual handmade mold for the gold to fit the pearl. "
"I want to create a product that reflects my taste, style and my Italian heritage."
Borlenghi has joined forces with fourth-generation goldsmith and gemologist Antonella Aquilino, whom she met in their native Italy, to create the designs that are produced in 18-karat rose gold with a smattering of semi-precious stones. Because of the unique shape of each pearl, the gold work is done by hand, using lost-wax casting.
"I want to create a product that reflects my taste, style and my Italian heritage," Borlenghi says. "I want to have a few pieces that I can wear around the day and evening, dress up or dress down as they say in the fashion world."
The collection includes rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets with prices starting around $2,000 and topping out just under $10,000.
"My target audience is a stylish woman, the age is not a factor," she says. "Someone who feels unique, who doesn't want to wear what everyone else is wearing, that is comfortable with her own uniqueness. And wants to buy a piece that can be a conversation starter."
Borlenghi is married to developer Giorgio Borlenghi, who was among the crowd gathering for the jewelry launch. They included Alex Borlenghi, Laura and Dr. Mike Sweeney, Nini Bekhradi, Roberto Pensotti, Annie Amante, Mary Tere Perusquia, Vivian Wise, Trish Millard, Francy Fondren and Debbie Greenbaum.