NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 7, 2009) - The Luxury Institute reported today the top-rated luxury jewelry brands in the 2009 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey, which identifies the top brands that exhibit true luxury in numerous categories based solely on the independently verified ratings of wealthy and ultra-wealthy consumers.

High net-worth consumers rated Graff the "Best of the Best" among 21 luxury jewelry brands, securing top ranks for all four components of the LBSI. Consumers who recommend Graff describe the brand as "large and understated, but beautiful diamond jewelry" and having "ultimate quality and design." Harry Winston and Buccellati were ranked second and third, respectively, and have been consistently rated in the top three in the previous two years.

The LBSI asks high net-worth consumers to rate luxury brands by category across four equally weighted components: Consistently Superior Quality, Uniqueness and Exclusivity, Making the Customer Feel Special Across the Entire Experience and Being Consumed by People Who Are Admired and Respected.

The "Best of the Best" are: (LBSI score out of 10)
--  Luxury Jewelry
    --  Graff-7.88
    --  Harry Winston-7.51
    --  Buccellati-7.49

"Today, as even the ultra-wealthy have re-assessed their priorities and values, it is critical to deliver extraordinary customer experiences beyond the design, quality, craftsmanship and heritage of a luxury brand," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "Ultra-wealthy and wealthy consumers tell us that the customer service, and the people who deliver it, leave a great deal to be desired and few luxury brands are heeding the warning. Many luxury brand executives are betting their businesses on their experience of the last 20 years, and have yet to learn to optimize technology with tested, trained, well-compensated and continuously rated brand ambassadors. Wealthy consumers will compromise their loyalty if luxury executives fail to dramatically enhance their service experience. Interestingly, the highly-rated luxury jewelry brands that have become larger and more ubiquitous are rating lower and lower on the list each year. This is a testament to savvy consumer value perception. Most of these people got rich by understanding the meaning of uniqueness and exclusivity."

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey is the only unbiased measure of the prestige of leading brands among wealthy and ultra-wealthy Americans. A national sample of 1,013 ultra-wealthy American consumers, with minimum household income of $489,000 and average investable assets of $6.9 million, was surveyed online. Survey results are weighted to match demographic and net-worth profiles of the same audience according to the latest Survey of Consumer Finances from The Federal Reserve.

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research and consulting services that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net-worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates the LuxuryBoard.com (www.LuxuryBoard.com), the world's first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs.

Contact Information: For Further Information, Please Contact: Evins Communications, Ltd. Dotty J. Giordano Director Enid Lewin Vice President Phone: (212) 688-8200 E-mail: dotty.giordano@evins.com E-mail: enid.lewin@evins.com The Luxury Institute, LLC Martin Swanson Business Development Phone: (914) 909-6350 E-mail: mswanson@luxuryinstitute.com