In the past, to help them get over their sluggish gift shop sales, the Smithsonian has licensed out their name for branded merchandise, like 2007’s furniture line, The Smithsonian Collection. But while that extension didn’t land the organization all that much attention, nor likely billions upon billions of dollars, now they’ve made a move that’s sure to fill their coffers with piles upon piles of filthy lucre, as they’ve announced that they’re teaming with the end-all-be-all of home shopping, the QVC television network (PDF). The National Museum of History will be spearheading the licensing deal, allowing QVC to create pieces of jewelery based on items in the National Gem and Mineral Collection, including the Hope Diamond and the Marie Antoinette Earrings. The items should be available for you to accidentally purchase at 3am after a long night at the bar sometime this fall.
“The Smithsonian is delighted to work with QVC, a proven leader in multimedia retailing,” said Carol LeBlanc, director of consumer products for Smithsonian Enterprises. “Together, we will create jewelry that is not only fashionable, but also serves to educate the public about the Smithsonian and the jewelry, gems and minerals found in its collections.”
The jewelry will include earrings, rings, bracelets, pins and brooches, as well as replicas of pieces in the museum’s collection. This is the first time that the Smithsonian has entered into a relationship with a retailer to sell high-quality jewelry based on the museum’s collection.