Swimmingly situated

Published 1:52 am Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Community Editor

For most jewelry and clothing designers, making Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition is a golden achievement in the world of women’s fashion.
It’s an achievement that Washington-based jewelry designer NAUTORA finds itself celebrating.
NAUTORA’s Guy Harvey jewelry line was featured in seven spreads in this year’s swimsuit edition, which hit store shelves shortly over a week ago. Cover model Brooklyn Decker, of Charlotte, sports Guy Harvey’s 18-karat gold Jumping Marlin necklace in one spread. Fellow swimsuit models Jessica White, Ann V and Christine Teigen also sport Guy Harvey jewelry.
The jewelry line replicates the renowned artwork of Harvey, a marine-life artist and biologist. Products range from 18-karat gold medallions, like the one worn by Decker, to sterling silver earrings, according to a NAUTORA news release.
The line is now “set up to be one of the hottest things of the season,” said Margaret Fortescue, NAUTORA’s managing director.
Fortescue hopes NAUTORA’s 1,500 retailers nationwide reap the benefits of the positive publicity.
“We’re mostly excited for our dealers,” she said. “In this economy, we love to have good news to share with (them).”
NAUTORA’s local dealers include Washington Jewelers and Awesome Outdoors.
Washington Jewelers owner Jimmy Fortescue Sr. said his store’s Guy Harvey sales were steady before the 2010 swimsuit edition hit shelves, and they have spiked even more since.
“It’s such a great design, and, I believe, is quickly becoming the No. 1 line of nautical jewelry in the world,” he said.
Marcia Benjamin, a retail associate with Awesome Outdoors, said the publicity should give the store some much-needed exposure.
The publicity could also benefit the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
According to the Margaret Fortescue, 10 percent of all Guy Harvey sales are donated to the nonprofit organization, which promotes conservation of the Earth’s oceans. The foundation funds exceptional research and innovative educational programs developed by universities, colleges, institutions and nonprofit organizations, states the Guy Harvey Jewelry’s Web site.
“We’re excited to get international recognition for the organization, as well,” the Margaret Fortescue said.
NAUTORA first floated the idea of being featured in this year’s swimsuit edition over a year ago.
“We looked at an issue and realized all the girls were wearing jewelry,” she said.
NAUTORA representatives contacted Diane Smith, Sports Illustrated’s senior editor, who has been in charge of the magazine’s swimsuit edition for nine years running.
Smith said she loved the Guy Harvey line and chose 30 pieces to take into consideration, according to Margaret Fortescue. NAUTORA was one of more than 200 different designers fishing to be featured in the magazine.
NAUTORA waited almost a year to hear the news of a lifetime: the Guy Harvey jewelry line would make at least one appearance in the 2010 swimsuit edition.
The Jimmy Fortescue Sr. said he was surprised to hear, and then see, that Guy Harvey jewelry was featured throughout the magazine.
“I think you have to be surprised to get in,” said the elder Fortescue, whose son Jim Fortescue Jr. owns NAUTORA. “There are people that would love to have a swimsuit, jewelry or purse on one model. To have (jewelry on four) is awesome.”