Roseate has been selling its pearl and pearl-inspired jewelry only since May, but its founder spent most of her career working for a considerably more established retailer: Tiffany & Company.
The idea for Roseate came up in 2021, when Pamela Cloud, who worked on the business side at Tiffany for 25 years, eventually leading the company’s merchandising, was catching up over lunch with her former boss, Michael J. Kowalski. He was chief executive at Tiffany from 1999 to 2015, with a temporary return in 2017, and board chairman from 2003 to 2017.
“We were talking about things,” Ms. Cloud said in an interview at Roseate’s headquarters, in a co-working space in New York’s Little Italy neighborhood. “That if you were to build a brand differently, any brand, how would you do it? That then got us to talking about materials, and we share this love of pearls.”
Pearls are the leitmotif of Roseate, which Ms. Cloud founded the following year. (Mr. Kowalski was a founding investor and now is one of its three board members, along with Ms. Cloud and her husband, Christopher Cloud.)
While Roseate has some classic items, like 10-millimeter South Sea pearl stud earrings in 18-karat rose gold, most of the designs have a casual modern feel. For example, there are Wands, slender pendants or drop earrings punctuated with lab-grown diamonds and mother-of-pearl, and the TreasureLocks collection, which includes necklaces of gold beads designed to resemble pearls.
The 50-piece inaugural collection was designed by Eddie Borgo, who is based in New York and Los Angeles. Ms. Cloud said that he brought a personal approach to the project, “but also this design point of view of nature and water and water drops and the oceans.”
His designs were executed by artisans in New York, Rhode Island and California; the pearls came from Kamoka, a farming operation in Tahiti, and the Paspaley Pearling Company in Australia.
Roseate’s prices range from $150 for a dainty WaterDrop sterling silver bracelet to $39,500 for an 18-inch South Sea pearl necklace, with the bulk from $1,000 to $3,000. “We want to make it accessible,” Ms. Cloud said. “We have the beautiful strand for $39,000, but we also want to make sure that people can have a heart pendant at a thousand.”
Most sales come through its website, but a pop-up store in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., is scheduled to continue until November. Another temporary shop, in New York’s West Village neighborhood, is planned for later this summer.
The company has linked itself with organizations that support oysters and clean water, the essentials to pearl creations — which seems to make sense strategically. When a company chooses to align itself with a charity, “it needs to have an authentic link to the product or the persona behind the product,” said Lucie Greene, the founder of Light Years, a trend forecasting company.
“Generally, there’s more emphasis on oceans, and water and its link to our environment and climate change,” she said, “so for a brand like this that is launching and is relatively new, that makes a lot of sense.”
Roseate donates 20 percent — or $300 — to charity each time it sells two of its designs, both priced at $1,500. The sale of a Bloom Wand pendant benefits the Billion Oyster Project, which helps restore New York Harbor’s oyster reefs; the Water Wand pendant helps Conservation International, which tries to protect oceans and other living ecosystems.
For Ms. Cloud, who was chief merchandising officer when she left Tiffany in 2019 (not long before it was acquired by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), working with pearls brings her career full circle.
“When I saved up and bought my first piece from Tiffany, as someone who worked there, it was strand of pearls, which I’m happy that my 18-year-old son now wears every day.”