In the beady paradise of Village Beads, a wonderland of twinkling jewelry greets the eyes, and a bevy of classes instills a love of beading in novice jewelers. During a beaded-jewelry-making session, crafters garner the skills necessary to construct a necklace and earring set using a $5 allowance to choose their own beads from the village's huge selection before following the guidance of the beadery's master designers. Wire-wrapped-ring classes highlight the subtle art of twisting metal wire into a ring—which students can crown with a single bead, a Swarovski crystal, or a small compartment for carrying an emergency ring—and the pearl-knotting-and-stringing class teaches customers how to shape a chic new necklace out of the shop's pearls and silk.
Within Everything Formal's family-owned walls, a stock of more than 1,000 designer dresses and tuxedoes is available for rent or purchase. Staffers tap into their wealth of knowledge to expertly alter garments, ensuring that long hems don't trip brides and that French cuffs get paired with brie-flavored cufflinks. Their inventory of tuxes and dresses suits a multitude of occasions—such as pageants, military balls, and weddings—and boasts brand names including Tony Bowls, Prima Donna, and Tiffany.
Nicole Hall, a third-generation master jeweler, spent years creating and repairing fine jewelry before opening Buckingham Jewelers with her husband, Simon. To forge custom pieces, she works closely with customers to understand their vision before sketching ideas and compiling a small mound of precious stones and gems. Most of her designs are bold statement pieces, such as a necklace of diamonds circling a pale-green opal. When clients want to include family heirloom stones or enhance existing jewelry, Nicole draws from her repair experience to carefully renovate their precious items. She even welds with a laser to avoid potential heat damage from soldering or outsourcing the job to an amateur fire-swallower.
In addition to Nicole's custom pieces, she and Simon carefully curate their shop's display cases with bold European jewelry. Hard-to-find pieces from Orit Schatzman, a handmade line in Israel, glisten alongside Danish Skagen watches. They also carry Angelique de Paris's colorful resin bangles, which are fashioned with sterling silver, vermeil, and gemstones, and have been featured in In Style and Harper's Bazaar.
Sandra Mitchell, Clarke Jewelers' master jeweler and owner, grew up watching her father repair watches, jewelry, and guns in his jewelry shop. The fascinated youngster decided to attend jewelry school and has been repairing and custom designing baubles for 35 years, recently with the help of her daughter Nicole, a master jeweler who specializes in repairing sterling silver, a difficult metal other jewelers are afraid to touch. In addition to their handiwork, they stock high-quality fine jewelry and trendy items, including bridal sets by Gabriel & Co., Citizen Eco-Drive watches, and sterling-silver bangles, rings, and halos.