After a full weekend filled with jewelry at the Miami Antique Show, there was nothing I needed more than, well--MORE jewelry! I've been dying to visit Marissa Collections in sunny (more like ALWAYS sunny) Naples, Florida. It is just a short jaunt from Miami across the Florida Everglades along Alligator Alley (legit name) for about two hours. The juxtaposition of Miami and Naples couldn't be anymore stronger, but that's what makes them both great destinations. After spending most of the day at Marissa Collections, I flew back home to Nashville. I never know how each #JewelryRoadTrip feature is going to come out until I sit down and start editing the photos, and formulate everything I just experienced into words. For me, I feel like being highly impressed may be an understatement--but this store truly is in a category of its own. See what I mean:
In its own category
It's 2017 and yes, people shop differently. But it's not always as cut and dry as some may have you thinking. There are articles out there that say brick-and-mortar stores are headed on the way out and that more and more people are shopping online. Well that's not the full story. Today, shoppers want an experience--something unique, genuine and something that keeps them coming back for more. At Marissa Collections, the shopping experience they've created for their clients has been happening for over 40 years. It is exclusive in so many ways that it eliminates the store from ever being put into categories with other jewelry stores or retail shops. So what are the qualities about Marissa Collections that set it apart from the rest? What are they doing that has continually made them a success story, unlike other jewelry stores whose headlines read differently?
Marissa Collections has developed their own secret sauce, starting with the store covering 10,000 square feet of posh. When you first walk in, besides immediately being offered a beverage, you may notice the obvious sections that the store is set up within. Notice I didn't use the word "divided" because although there are definite sections, they all fuse and flow together.
Whether you're visiting to shop for a special occasion or wanting to browse, you'll come to find the store feels like one big dressing room. It is noted that a good amount of jewelry sales are made in their dressing rooms because the simple fact that jewelry is necessary to top off any outfit! It just makes it that much better. And the jewelry that Marissa Collections hand-selects for their cases is quite special in its own right.
Wanting to create a line-up of jewelry designers that didn't overlap, each having a sense of individuality was very important to Marissa Collections. If a designer specializes in 22k yellow gold designs, there won't be others offered in store that look or feel similar. The curation extends from all parts of the world, each producing amazing pieces, some comparable to pieces of art. If you like big and bold, trendy and layer-ready, sentimental and celebratory, Marissa Collections' selection is extensive.
Designers like Silvia Furmanovich--a Brazilian powerhouse who uses ancient techniques paired with bold designs and color. Often incorporating organic materials like wood and shells, her jewelry fits right into the Florida style of Marissa Collections.
Irene Neuwirth jewelry is a favorite--what's not to love of her colorful gemstones, one-of-a-kind designs and sea-inspired looks. Marissa Collections is proud to house many outstanding pieces from this California-based designer.
Nikos Koulis brings Greek radiance to Marissa Collections with his striking and colorful designs. His sharp aesthetic has created a large following with only a few years in business.
Arunashi will inspire and make your jaw-drop with his luxurious and extremely unique designs. I was surprised by the light-weight titanium used in his pieces--the colorful metals and rare gemstones, all mixed into one bold and beautiful jewel.
I loved learning about designers I was unfamiliar with until seeing and experiencing them at Marissa Collections. Designers like Tamara Comolli, Inbar, Shamballa Jewels, all whom I wasn't familiar with and easily fell for once I saw and learned of their work. Seeing some Gem Gossip favorites like Shay Jewelry, Todd Reed, Sylva & Cie, Victor Velyan, Dana Rebecca Designs, Wendy Yue, Spinelli Kilcollin, and Alison Lou, all whom Marissa Collections proudly carries.
Marissa Collections' legacy begins in 1975 with Marissa & Burt Hartington, husband and wife team, who opened the store with one goal in mind: to help clients develop their individual style. The creativity and eye for curation of Marissa has lead to the store continually growing over the years. Their dedicated retail space for jewelry is just nearly 10 years old, which their son Jay has taken the reigns of. The designers chosen for Marissa Collections are both equal parts ideal for the store's clients and all around great additions to outfits which the store is known for. Jay says it is important to show women how to wear the pieces they offer. Cultivating great style begins with exploring different ways of wearing things and learning how to accessorize with jewelry.
Not Just Jewelry
Although my main focus on this #JewelryRoadTrip feature is obviously the jewelry, I would be leaving a big part out if I didn't mention what else Marissa Collections offers. The specialty shop is truly a destination store where people come from all over the world to experience something quite like this. Fashions from high end designers (like Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Brunello Cucinelli), shoes, handbags, menswear, couture gowns and even a makeup studio are all features of the store. The staff is equipped with experienced stylists who are at the forefront of fashion and can help you find the perfect outfit whether it is for a very specific special occasion or for everyday wear. Marissa Collections prides itself on the relationships it grows between their clients and stylists; connections that run deeper than any other store-to-shopper bond.
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The biggest change this year: the new location--the Miami-Dade County Expo Center where the fair happens every year
Left: I always flock to Lucy Verity for her jewel box of treasures--both her original antique displays and wealth of knowledge, paired with her hilarious demeanor always gives me good energy. Right: The back of a pocket watch that I wish I would've bought!
Left: Spiders creep me out, but this necklace is on a different level! I LOVE it! Right: A box of chocolates has nothing on this box of Jogani jewels!
Stopped by DK Bressler to "oooh & awe" and this made my heart beat faster! A very early piece with original fitted box.
These case photos give me life and make me excited for next year!
Left: We felt amethyst was a huge sensation at the antique show--this relatively inexpensive stone will be trending for sure. Right: Rows of mourning rings from Spare Room Antiques are always so interesting and never macabre.
Left: I couldn't tell you how many amazing pieces Mary Anntiques had, so if I had to narrow it down to only two, it would be this carved emerald cameo and lapis ring. Right: I zoomed in on a ring I had been trying to track down for forever--but the booth was busy and I was leaving!
Insane diamonds found at Dover Jewelry--the one on my pointer is nearly 20 carats! This will probably be on a celebrity's finger in the future...just wonder which one?!
Left: Died for opals at the show--especially this brooch from Gold Hatpin. Right: Ah, this ring. Fit like a glove and is probably the best thing I've ever seen. From Select Antique Jewelry.
Left: All three of these rings are over-the-top perfect! From Poli Trading Company. Right: If these earrings were just a littttttle lighter, they would be my forever pair. Lapis and the unique gold work is to-die-for.
More case photos, just teasing you with all the goodies!
Brooke of Arrow & Anchor Antiques, myself and the lovely Lenore Dailey. Her booth is always bustling with fans and friends who have so much love for her!
Left: Some amazing rock crystal figas from D & E Singer Inc.--the one on the left is now in the hands of Vada Jewelry! Right: Clayton Antiques always has some of the most unique rings--lots of opals and dying for the turquoise and pearl navette one!
Left: Some pretty emeralds from Gold Hatpin--I love the mix of styles here and showing how they can all work together just because of the common gemstone. Right: Ok, this necklace was insane--the opals are doublets though but the style of it and the long hand-made chain made it incredible.
If my manicure had a spirit animal, it would be this ring from DK Bressler. So gorgeous.
Left: I love seeing Michael Goldstein and all his incredible diamonds--like this major portrait rose cut. Right: Loving the style on Madeline who works at Haig's of Rochester--the arm party, the solid gold Kieselstein choker and you can't see her earrings in this picture, but they are amazing!
Left: Something about these earrings made me stop and stare. Right: Nutty for navettes; all from Jacob's Estate Jewelry.
More case photos--you may recognize the one on the left being Lenore Dailey's because of how vibrant and gorgeous it is!
Left: Excalibur Jewelry had this cool opal butterfly wing necklace--you could actually make the wings flutter, it was articulated. Right: Spotted a piece from Jewelry Nerd at a booth manned by Art Adorned. Loved looking at everything!
Left: I begged to buy the case but got shot down. Vintage and antique ring cases are my weakness. Right: This necklace is just WOW.
Left: This mourning ring features an urn--a highly collectible motif and it was just in the most immaculate condition. From Clayton Antiques. Right: Another piece that is a great example of portrait jewelry--seems like I've only seen pieces like this in books.
Let's settle in while I come off my Miami high. I always get so, so excited about the Original Miami Antique Show and this year had even more built up about it since a few things were different. For one, the biggest change being the location of the show--entirely different, at the Miami-Dade County Expo Center, a cool 30-40 minute drive from its usual location. The new digs had a lot of people frustrated because us antique lovers usually hate change...we have our traditions, our rituals, our hotel we stay at every year, our restaurant down the street that we go to every year...so unfortunately many people didn't come this year because of this and I'm sad to say they missed out. This was one of the best shows I've ever been to. Another change, for me at least, was the amount of days I spent at the show. In the past this was always a quick trip where I got one full day and a few extra hours the following day before I had to leave and go back home. You can never fully enjoy a show of this magnitude if you constantly feel like you're racing against the clock. This year I stayed three full days at the show and am so glad I did. The last change was something I had remembered my dad saying to me--which I quoted him from last year's blog post--it was in regards to how much money I was bringing to the show. Last year I didn't bring very much and he told me "That's like going to a casino to gamble and bringing a twenty!" So this year I had been saving my money and sold quite a few pieces of jewelry to reinvest.
I don't think the weather could have been any better as well--that weekend was warm and sunny, to the point where I was contemplating moving to Florida. The new location had three main buildings: one large building which housed the Arnold & Fuchs Halls--two very large sections of booths, the second building housed Edwards Hall, and the third building which wasn't connected but not too far housed the Pavilion. As you may have guessed, walking was even more involved than before because how spread out everything was, but you only noticed it once you got back to your hotel room and were falling asleep as soon as you sat down. After attending the show for five years and getting used to where certain dealers were located and things like that, I have to admit I was struggling the first day. By the second day though, I had already relearned the floor plan and off to a great start. It actually did have a few benefits to being in a whole new layout and location because I looked at everything with fresh eyes. The two pieces I bought for myself were from dealers I had never worked with or seen before, so I was really happy.
Jewelry highlights of the year?! The buzz around the show could be summed up into a few words shared by quite a few people I talked to; "wow this year is really good, so many great pieces of jewelry." And I couldn't agree more. It seemed like every booth had several really special items and highly sellable pieces. This year I thought it would be smart to caption my photos above, so you can not only see all my jewelry highlights but know where each is from--just in case you see something that strikes your fancy you can at least attempt to contact the dealer.
What did I bring home from the show?! Oh man. I went overboard this year, so I feel like that should be a separate blog post. But if you're too eager to find out, you can click here. I revealed my finds on Instagram. I will blog the details later and be sure to follow @shopGemGossip on Instagram where I will be listing a couple items for sale!
Again, I will be counting down the days until next year and so funny to read last year's post and see how it says that I hope to stay longer and bring more money next time. I'm glad these posts are keeping me accountable and are like my virtual diary entries. Cheers to next year!!
Hey Everyone! Just wanted to let you all know something pretty exciting--I took nearly 50 pieces from my personal collection and put them on Everything But the House (EBTH)! What is so great about this auction website is the amount of unique, highly curated items that go up for bidding every day of the week. You can basically shop estate sales from the comfort of your own home. I can't tell you how many things I've purchased from EBTH--several large gold mirrors (as pictured in my feature), one of my absolute favorite rings, and a lot of rock & mineral specimens. The variety of what you can find is impressive!
Another really great thing, for buyers at least, is that everything starts out at $1! And no reserves on anything! I have some amazing pieces of jewelry that have really high values, up now in its own auction--but HURRY! Bidding ends on February 16th!!
WANT MORE? See more from my jewel box!
Photography by Lauren Newman
Powerfully creative, remarkably chic--Mateo New York is a line of jewelry created by Matthew "Mateo" Harris, Jamaican born creative who feasts on inspiration and jewelry, 24/7. His creations speak for themselves, often described as minimalistic designs, yet are bursting with feeling, power and innovation. I would never call it "trendy" jewelry--these pieces are staples for the fashionistas, obsessions of the creative geniuses, and everyday classics for the it-girl. I dare you to put on one of his chokers and not feel cool. The tying of the velvet bow that every choker isn't complete without doing so will give you endless possibilities of wearing it--either in the back, off to the side, or be daring and wear the bow toward the front!
I was so excited to get to spend a few days with Mateo's pieces--I tried them on, wore them out and of course, styled the above looks and put them into a photoshoot. I was inspired by his latest venture--opening up a flagship store in Nolita, NYC, where I felt his style, mixed with big city vibes, created a sleek look. The store is exactly his aesthetic and is a vital part of his brand. Getting customers to walk into the inviting space, see and try-on his pieces, is just the first step in a life-long client for Mateo--and it is something that online shopping lacks. But don't let that stop you from visiting his website and browsing/shopping online! Just know that his pieces are that much more amazing in person! ;)
Picking out the items was tough for me because I pretty much love every single piece that Mateo makes! If you love geometric jewelry, you'll die over all the endless shapes and Calder-inspired mobile designs. The 14k yellow gold Mobile Shapes earrings were fun, playful and affordable luxury items that set the tone of my shoot. They instantly turned my ear lobes into a work of art. The chokers are a definite favorite and if you're in the market to buy one, I suggest you get one of Mateo's! I've tried on way too many cheap-feeling ones from other designers and his is the real deal! The Semi-Circle Disc earrings created the second look and I felt that wet, slicked hair was necessary for it. Whether it is circles, squares or triangles--Mateo takes ordinary shapes and makes them extraordinary. Hope to own a piece for myself in the future!
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Outside of AGTA Gem Fair where you can pull up and valet your car--my parking skills thinks this is a great idea
Oh my opals! From Exhibitor Only Beads based out of Atlanta
Freaked for this huge yellow sapphire from Mayer & Watt
Both photos above were found at Under the Crown Jewelry -- the carved scarab moonstone struck a cord with me and I loved learning about their Crown Jubilee faceted diamonds, their trademarked diamond cut which is fashioned from an Old Mine or Old European cut diamond. There are two sets of crown facets and two sets of pavilion facets. It's the only diamond that has the crown and pavilion in perfect harmony!
The view above--AGTA is huge, with over 300+ exhibitors, you truly need AT LEAST two days to cover the show--for me I took two days, plus a third day to come back to buy some things that kept haunting me.
These types of set ups lead to a treasure hunt unlike any other! Whether you have a piece of jewelry in mind you're designing or just let yourself gravitate toward certain stones...it is a fun experience!
If I want to see the cream of the crop, I visit Omi Prive where I got to try on incredible sapphires, emerald, zircon and tsavorites. Amazing!
I loved the concept that Pala International devised with these "Collectors Sets" of gems--each a unique assortment of gemstones, perfect for a collector or connoisseur.
Gold rush has come over the AGTA Gem Fair! Lots of vintage goodies from Excalibur Jewelry
Left: a yummy watermelon tourmaline from Kimberly Collins Gems
Right: an insanely perfect specimen of chrysocolla from Rare Earth Mining Co.
Seriously enchanted by these kite-shaped emeralds from Manak--these need to be rings ASAP!
Just browsing the many aisles upon aisles of gems, jewels, and treasures at AGTA.
Left: more watermelon tourmaline and Right: some insane opals from exhibitor Robert Shapiro
No caption needed--you may be already able to tell these insane gems and rings are Omi Prive.
Opals of different patterns and translucency all in one display! These are from Joel Price Inc.
More favorite finds: the two inlay stone pieces are from Rare Earth Mining Co. and I think they are my favorites of the entire Tucson trip! Left shows more opals, which I loved this unique display--really showed off each one individually.
Some incredible rings from Excalibur Jewelry, spanning all different ages and styles.
Loved learning about sunstones from Desert Sun Mining & Gems--each one is mined in Oregon (I even have a map and dvd to learn even more)!
As you may have guessed, I spent some serious time at the Excalibur booth, just because antique jewelry is my main love. All of these rings are special in their own way and I just loved this diamond bow necklace featuring a giant emerald cut emerald!
One of the "Collectors' Sets" from Pala International--love the variety of shapes, sizes and varieties of gems.
Pairing gemstones is quite the task--these gemstone pairs from Kimberly Collins Gems give any jeweler or designer so many options!
Left: this huge opal lay on an exhibitor's table with a sign that read "please touch, please take my photo" Right: colorful earrings from Campbellian Collection--can you spot the mismatched pairs?!
I also loved these rings from Campbellian Collection--from the bright colors to the unique designs, so good!
Some gemstones cut by the master Clay Zava featured here--including the snowcone cut which is slightly out of focus on the bottom.
Are you planning your trip for next year yet?? I feel like by now you might be!
Of course Mayer & Watt would have some insane trapiche emeralds--what amazing earrings would these make?!
Left: myself with the very talented Clay Zava of Zava Mastercuts, Right: Mayer & Watt was proud to present this incredible 190 ct aquarmarine sculpture with under-the-sea motifs like an octopus and other sea creatures carved into the piece. It is called "Love at First Sight" and was created by Susan Allen & Michael Cristie. Also included in the piece is a 470 c. chrysoprase, a 10.3 mm Tahitian pearl and 0.63 ctw of diamonds in 18k yellow gold.
From Lightning Ridge mine in Australia, this incredible opal featured at exhibitor Joel Price at AGTA.
I haven't made the journey out to the desert for the Tucson Gem Shows in five years! Can you believe it?! I'm usually focused on the Miami Antique Show and for the first time in years, the two shows don't overlap as much as they usually do--that makes me very happy and also very travel worn, but I'm up for the challenge!
The AGTA Gem Fair has been happening since 1981 and is a tradeshow that is open to wholesale only, where they cater to those stores, designers and clients who are discerning, looking to find the best jewelry, gemstones, and so much more. There are several aspects about AGTA that sets it apart from other gem shows in Tucson during this week, and when attending your first AGTA Gem Fair like myself, you quickly learn and take notice! This year's show spanned from January 31st-February 5th, at the Tucson Convention Center--a glorious facility with all the necessary features for a large tradeshow. A huge plus for AGTA show-attendees is the fact that you can shop and buy with confidence knowing each exhibitor is a Member of the AGTA. Every exhibitor is a United States or Canada-based professional, who adhere to a rigorous code of ethics. Quality, value and selection--all high standards of AGTA, providing sources you can trust.
Other great features include valet parking--which my rental car would like to personally thank AGTA for this, as I nicked my car a few times trying to parallel park in Tucson. Good times. Also, the variety of food trucks outside the show was really cool! We all have been there before--super hungry during a tradeshow with limited options for dining. This was such a neat way to remedy hunger and also be on trend--because everyone loves a food truck! And other perks including some obvious-yet-vital things like air conditioning! Yes, the desert gets toasty in late January/early February, and with most shows outdoors in the sun, we sometimes forget how nice an indoor, air conditioned show can be!
My first day at the show, I just come off a four hour plane ride + two hour car drive, so I knew exactly where to head on the show floor--the antique jewelry vendors!! I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were actually a few and they each easily gave me life. I enjoyed oogling over Excalibur's jewels and Under the Crown's diamonds, of course learning a thing or two, as I always do from my antique friends. I may or may not have bought something amazing from Excalibur on day three--just because I couldn't stop thinking about it, and although the piece was supposed to be for a client of mine, I'm 89% sure I'm now keeping it for myself. Oh lord, I need help.
Day two of the AGTA show included exploring every aisle and seeing what I could find! Certain gemstones caught my attention--chrysocolla, sunstones, insane opals, fancy kite-shapes, etc. I was mesmerized by everything from Rare Earth Mining Co. and died a little when I saw some of the inlay pieces. Every single booth had something unique and if I had LOTS of money to spend, I would buy one thing from each exhibitor, most definitely. I remember someone saying that the people roaming the aisles is like a Who's Who among jewelry designers, and you'll likely get star-struck on many occasions. This was totally true! Running into some of my favorite designers was definitely a perk of attending the show and seeing each one in his or her own element, focusing in on designing and finding the right stones was fun.
My last day in Tucson was supposed to be roaming the highway shows and I actually ended up finding myself back at AGTA! There were several pieces that kept haunting me and I knew I had to come back to make them my own. I also wanted to spend some time at the Mayer & Watt booth because not only are Simon's gems incredible but he always has a keen sense on the gem industry and what is currently going on. I also am a big fan of his app--called Mayer & Watt--if you download it, you will see an entire database of gems! Both inventory and sold items are pictured, along with a Gemipedia, which gives you LOTS of information about each stone. The app is fun to go through and also done really well, most importantly the photography is gorgeous! So you must download it when you get the chance!!
I know many of you loved seeing my updates from Tucson and are wanting to plan ahead for next year already! Well you're in luck, AGTA already has announced next year's dates--so put January 30th-February 4th, 2018 in your calendar! I know I already am counting down the days (and saving my money lol)!
What a fun trip this has been--special shoutout to Abby of @nomadgold for being my sidekick, helping me with photography and convincing one another to YES buy that, definitely! Also thank you to AGTA for providing accommodations while in Tucson.
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