Maison Birks, Mapleview Shopping Centre, Burlington Ontario. Photo: Maison Birks

Iconic Canadian jeweller Birks has just changed its name to 'Maison Birks', and it's opening new boutiques carrying only Birks-branded jewelry. These moves are partly a response to increased competition within Canada's premium jewelry market. 

The first "mono-brand" Maison Birks opened last week at Mapleview Shopping Centre in Burlington Ontario, and a second opens this week at Montreal's Quartier DIX30. More mono-brand Maison Birks stores will follow. 

The new stores are relatively small. The Mapleview Birks is 1,385 square feet, and the Quartier DIX30 Birks is about 1,500 square feet. As a comparison, Birks' largest stores are in the 15-20,000 square foot range.

New Maison Birks logo

Maison Birks has a new logo (inspired by a diamond - see above) and will commence a new advertising campaign. In addition, Maison Birks has launched 16 new jewelry collections that include bridal pieces featuring Canadian diamonds. Canadian diamonds have become popular in recent years and are being marketed by competitors including De Beers and Tiffany & Co. 

Speaking of Canadian diamonds, Canada's fine jewelry market is becoming even more competitive. Tiffany & Co. has expanded substantially throughout Canada, opening both free-standing stores as well as smaller boutiques within several Holt Renfrew locations. Cartier is expected to open new Canadian stores including as many as two in Vancouver - one replacing an existing franchised Cartier store on Howe Street, the other possibly opening in Oakridge Centre. Diamond powerhouse De Beers will also open a store this fall in Vancouver, its first in Canada.

Maison Birks, Mapleview Shopping Centre, Burlington Ontario. Photo: Maison Birks

Fine jewelry competition will also come from the likes of Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Holt Renfrew will be expanding its jewelry offerings in order to carry more fine jewelry, while both Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue will include fine jewelry departments within their new Canadian stores. Given this increased competition, Maison Birks will hopefully have found the right time to modernize its brand. 

Thank you to Retail Insider Ryan of blog for notifying us of Birks' rebranding.

[Maison Birks website]