The San Francisco Bay Area is home to several well-established jewelers. Founded in 1852, Shreve & Co. is considered the oldest operation in town, and Gleim Jewelers at Stanford Shopping Center is celebrating its 91st year. Alongside such pioneering gems, this next generation of women-owned jewelry shops is also worth trying on for size.
“Jewelry tells a story,” Alexis Nordby says. “Every piece of jewelry takes me back to when it was purchased and brings a smile to my face. Reliving those memories is what life is about.” Jewelry also connects people to the past: Nordby’s most treasured piece, which she wears daily, is her late mother’s wedding band. To keep their connection strong, Nordby named Commonwealth after the San Francisco street that her mom grew up on. Opened in April, Commonwealth is a tiny jewel box of a shop at the Marin Country Mart. Pick up pretty necklaces for layering and stunning pieces by designers you used to find at Barneys (like Irene Neuwirth, Anita Ko and Mizuki). commonwealthmarin.com
Entrepreneur Rachel Skelly never feels comfortable walking into a fine jewelry store. “The experience of shopping for fine jewelry can be extremely intimidating, hard to navigate and even harder to understand,” she says. So she reimagined the entire experience with Cast. “We created Cast to be a place that inspires curiosity and fosters a sense of discovery, with endless treasures to explore,” she says. “Fine jewelry is powerful and awe-inspiring. We are creating a shopping experience to match that magical feeling.” Cast opens this month at The Village at Corte Madera with capsule collections that Skelly created with local and international designers. Lauren Harwell Godfrey is behind the turquoise Spellbound Collection, while Francesca Villa designed the gorgeous four-in-one Getaway Ring. castjewelry.com
Sisters Pratima and Prerna Sethi grew up in Los Altos, learning how to navigate a gem fair at a young age, thanks to their parents’ diamond business. However, both pursued careers in other industries before realizing that jewelry held their hearts. Twelve years ago, they launched Sethi Couture, a collection of beautiful pieces emphasizing different types of diamonds and stacking rings. In 2016, the duo opened a shop on Main Street in their hometown, where they sell Sethi Couture along with the namesake brands of Julez Bryant and Marlo Laz. “It’s been amazing to see people from our past come out from the woodwork,” Pratima says of the community. “The one thing that my parents always taught us is that it doesn’t matter how small or big the order is. It’s a relationship that you’re building that’s important.” sethicouture.com
Rocks With Soul
Kerri Lehmann believes that jewelry is the ultimate accessory for self-expression. At Rocks With Soul — a private, appointment-only showroom located inside her San Francisco home — Lehmann sells items of her own design, including delicate tennis necklaces with various gemstones. A philanthropist at heart, Lehmann donates a portion of proceeds to charity. Throughout her 16 years in business, she has given over $1 million to causes such as Edgewood Center for Children and Families in San Francisco. “Helping people to look and feel their best through jewelry is a natural fit for me,” she explains. “I love the idea of women buying jewelry for themselves because I think it’s empowering.” rockswithsoul.com
Eleven years ago, Marie McCarthy opened Fiat Lux, a moody, punk rock jewelry shop in the Mission. Earlier this year, she expanded her footprint to the Fillmore District. “I decided to open a second Fiat Lux in a different neighborhood because I wanted to highlight a different aspect of my approach to jewelry,” McCarthy says. “Fillmore has a distinctly bright, maximalist feel, while 16th Street is minimalist and graphic.” At the new outpost, you’ll find designs by Celine Daoust and Eugenie Niarchos’ Venyx. Plus it’s the only place in the City where you can experiment with permanent jewelry — a trend where a bracelet or necklace doesn’t have a clasp to remove and is instead sized and fused together. McCarthy, also a tattoo artist, considers this the next step in body adornment. fiatluxsf.com