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Uniquely Dazzling

Glamour and glitz in South County Commons

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What sparked your interest in jewelry?
I love jewelry because it is the perfect left-brain right-brain balance. Jewelry combines art, beauty and aesthetics but also science, geology and even geometry. I’m not a total science geek or art fan, but jewelry is the perfect blend of two fields that I really love.

How did Adornment Fine Jewelry come to be?
I came up with the idea while sitting on my porch in New Orleans having drinks with my partner and co-owner, Shawn Thornton, right after Hurricane Katrina. We had always had a desire to open a jewelry store and Katrina provided us with the perfect opportunity to go out and pursue the next thing in our lives. We love Rhode Island, so we decided to open our first store in the South County Commons, which was brand new at the time; we opened our second store in Newport just last year.

Tell me about your annual Antique and Estate Sale.
Our New Orleans Meets South County Antique & Estate Sale is actually a partnership with the store I managed in New Orleans; every year the owner and his wife come to Rhode Island. We will be featuring antique rings and wedding bands, so this is a great place to look for something very unique. We will also offer light appraisals on jewelry.

I noticed a great synthesis between those antique pieces and the modern jewelry in your collection.

My taste tends to be very architectural and I find that element in a lot of antique pieces. I usually find that art deco pieces tend to be very linear or circular. This seems to be becoming fashionable again and I see it being incorporated into modern jewelry. Mainly, though, I am a stickler for well-crafted jewelry. Craftsmanship is something that I truly value and I look for in both antique and modern pieces.

Do you have a preference between antique and modern jewelry?
I have no real preference – rather, I am struck by creativity. I am particularly delighted when I see something I haven’t seen before in an antique piece. I look at how it fits the finger, the neck, the ear – or how the clasp has been made. There are so many great and ingenious designs that are truly unique.

While you don’t have a preference in style, do your clients?
There is no preference in style with the clients. That’s why they come to the store; they are not sure of what they will find when they get there. But, we also carry the staples like gold hoops and wedding bands. The majority of our collection is uniquely beautiful and our customers are drawn in by the element of surprise.

Which pieces are your favorite to sell?
Wedding bands are my favorite sale. Engagements have a bit of nervousness about them and a lot of times it’s just one person buying the ring. But with wedding bands, people come in together and it’s extremely collaborative for the both of them, which is my favorite part. Personalities really come out when they’re picking their bands.

What are some current trends?
Yellow gold is coming back in a big way. I love yellow gold and I’m glad it’s becoming chic again because white gold can often look too much like platinum or sliver. Also, I have seen very few skin tones yellow gold doesn’t look fabulous on. For summer, people are wearing very bright stones. I’ve also noticed that at a recent event for Queen Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate Middleton and the Queen were all wearing pearls. This shows me how timeless and classic pearls really are. Some people think of their grandma’s string of pearls but I hope they think of Kate Moss and Keira Knightley.

What inspiration do you take from your surroundings?
The love of the ocean. I design my own pieces and take so much inspiration from finding new ways to celebrate the ocean, the waves and the sea. The juxtaposition of the organic nature incorporated into the hardness of the stone and metal is big for me. I also love the symbols of the tree of life, insects and animals represented in jewelry. In South County everyone seems to appreciate the outdoors and that reflects in the jewelry. There is a very active element here and people wear active-friendly pieces as opposed to clunky ones.

Speaking of your inspirations, what is a piece you have recently designed?
I recently designed a whale pendant that was made out of yellow gold. I drew a whale and then etched it into the gold. My jeweler then cut it out and put it on a chain.