By Michelle Graff
A stack of bracelets from John Hardy, a brand started in 1975 by the Canadian designer of the same name who was inspired by a trip to Bali
New York--Catterton, a private equity firm that has sunk money into companies including crystal-maker Baccarat and haircare brand Frederic Fekkai, has purchased John Hardy for an undisclosed sum, the jewelry brand announced Thursday. 

Robert Hanson, the former CEO of American Eagle Outfitters who was abruptly fired by the Pittsburgh-based retailer in January, has been named the new CEO of John Hardy.

Current John Hardy CEO Damien Dernoncourt, who has led the Hong Kong-based, Bail-made brand since 2007, will remain on board as non-executive chairman. The position will be a full-time job and Dernoncourt will retain an equity stake in John Hardy, the company said. 

Guy Bedarida will continue to serve as creative director and head designer while Miles Graham retains his position as president and chief operating officer. 

“John Hardy is pleased to partner with Catterton, which will provide the support and resources to continue building our brand and accelerate our growth on an international scale,” Dernoncourt said in the company statement. 

Rumors have been swirling about the potential sale of John Hardy since late last year, with Catterton named as one of the potential buyers. Though the terms of the deal announced Thursday were not disclosed, initial reports stated that John Hardy was valued at $100 million to $140 million. 

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Canadian designer John Hardy founded his eponymous brand in 1975 and sold it in 2007 to Dernoncourt and Bedarida, who used to design for Van Cleef & Arpels and Boucheron. Dernoncourt and Bedarida shared ownership of the brand with another private equity firm, 3i. 

John Hardy jewelry is sold in more than 600 retail locations worldwide, in department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, and by independent jewelers.  

The brand also just signed English model Cara Delevingne as the face of its new fall advertising campaign

The sale of John Hardy is the latest in a series of mergers and acquisitions in the jewelry industry this year, the largest of which was Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s $1.4 billion purchase of rival Zale Corp. This was followed by the announcement in June that Chinese retailer Chow Tai Fook was buying Hearts on Fire for $150 million. 

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