Looking towards the future: Three jewelry retailers’ talent for mixing the past with the present
In today’s ever-changing retail environment, more and more jewelry storeowners are curating their shops with a mix of modern and antique styles, tuning into the contemporary women’s desire for collectible pieces that are anything but common. Three brick and mortar stores have caught my attention with their distinctive personalities, their willingness to take risks, strong online shops, and inspirational social media presence. All feature jewelry with authenticity and originality of design, pieces which have history, meaning and that appeal to women on a visceral, emotional level.
Metier (San Francisco)
For more than 20 years, Sheri Evans and Trina Papini have been the San Francisco’s go-to women of style. They know how to mix up modern, antique and vintage with a hip and edgy attitude. Sheri explains, “We love contrast and find it most interesting when pieces don’t seem to match: sparkly with beat-up, minimal next to ornate, shiny-new with rough and handmade.” She continues, “We feel that layering or groups of pieces with a unifying element also offers a current take on the combination of old and new.”
Why Shop here? These women identify some of the true craftsmen of modern designs as well as must-have pieces of antique and vintage jewelry. Plus, they have an uncanny ability to teach their clients how the two can easily co-exist, not just in their shop but also on a women’s wrist neck or fingers. Sheri and Trina also select styles that have powerful symbolism — knowing that all women can relate to pieces that represent love, luck and protection.
Online Presence: The website blog and Instagram posts show how the duo mix contrasting pieces to create spontaneous and effortlessly nonchalant looks. Sheri and Trina consistently update with an amazing array of different categories of jewelry. The pieces which they preview on their IG account before they upload to their website will send you straight to DM, email or phone them (or all three) to buy before another one of their followers gets there first. You will also be inspired to look through your own jewelry box to see what pieces you can combine and juxtapose to get a similar look.
Erica Weiner (Manhattan & Brooklyn)
A third generation New York entrepreneur, Erica Weiner owns two jewelry stores, one in Brooklyn and one on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Erica and partner Lindsay Salmon caters to women who, like themselves, have affinity for antique jewels and the culture and meaning behind these historical gems. Erica’s curiosity about the past and her love for the craft of this wearable art form was also the impetus for her modern and affordable collection 1909—named for the year her grandmother, who was born around the corner from where her Nolita shop resides today. It features pieces that give a nod to sentimental and symbolism that spanned across different time periods but with a modern spin. Lindsay who is in charge of the antique buying has an impeccable eye and scours US and international fairs and markets to find their customers jewels from the Georgian through Art Deco time periods.
Why Shop Here? Erica Weiner’s current collection offers accessible price points, self-purchase pieces and those that can be bought as gifts. The shop has a strong engagement ring business, which was the first category of antique jewelry that the partners brought into the store. Lindsay explains, “Our customers, like most collectors of various objects, have a keen interest in desire to possess something rare. Rings represent the emotional. They celebrate and demonstrate the most important occasions and relationships in a women’s life.”
Online Presence: Lindsay’s sleuthing talents reveal the history behind each piece, which offers customers a complete story on the provenance and meaning behind the jewelry they are purchasing. They have, in the past six months updated their website, which displays how the past can easily fit into the present and also offers enough information to allow you to feel comfortable buying straight off of he website. Their Instagram posts feature holiday suggestions and sneak peeks of pieces the duo finds while they are at various shows and fairs—giving customers genuine insight into how they make their selections.
Esqueleto (Los Angeles & Oakland)
I met Lauren Wolf at her first trade show, in which she featured her own collection and I started buying her signature designs when she lived in New York. I was quite taken by her talent the unique and distinct vision she displayed. Soon after, I found out that Lauren was antique aficionado like myself. She relocated from New York to California and opened her first ESQUELETO shop in Oakland in 2011 and I made it out there for a visit in 2013. The shop had a Georgia O’Keefe desert vibe which now carries over to her Los Angeles location. The mix of the pottery, rugs and decorative objects that are hand-crafted reminds me of the stores my mom took me to when I was a kid in the post-Make-Love-Not-War early 1970s. This feeling is mixed with distinctive independent designer collections such as Rebecca Overmann, Melissa Joy Manning, Sara Swell, Polly Wales, Pade Vavra and a host of local and international craftsmen as well as some killer Victorian and Georgian rings.
Why shop here? As far as the jewelry goes, Lauren’s own pieces are reason enough, but she also has a great eye for spotting and bringing in other major talents as well as scouting out a varied collection of well-priced antique rings.
Online Presence: The blogs are well-written and speak to various trends in gems, also promoting designers and their personal appearances and new pieces that are debuting in the shop. The website’s “Stacks” section is artfully executed with some amazing ideas for mixing up an assortment of rings from all time periods in various colors, textures and metals. These are also featured on Instagram as still live photos, and then again displayed on hands with fingers full of rings.