It has been years since I’ve been up to Sonoma, even though it’s only a two hour drive from where I live, so I was very excited to head up there this past Friday. Not only was I meeting a dear friend and colleague for lunch, but I was also finally going to visit Studio Collections Jewelry. I have been “virtual” friends with the owner, Bess Nathan Rice, for quite some time now. Located just off the main square, this store sells a very wide array of styles, from dainty to bold, new to vintage. I have no doubt that whatever your personal style, you’d be able to find something to complement your wardrobe in this boutique.
As I walked in, I met Beth Hanson, who is the woman in charge of all the styling and merchandising at the store. Her love of jewelry had us chatting non-stop.
There are quite a few lines that were new to me, and I want to share a few of them with you. The first one, Yed Omi, was located at the counter right as I walked in. It’s handcrafted by a husband/wife team out of Portland, Oregon.
I tried on the gold earrings on the right, and they were quite fabulous! Not only are they extremely lightweight, but the line is very reasonably priced.
Bess, the owner, also sells her own line. Luck would have it that she had just brought in trays of new designs while I was there. This necklace can be worn long, doubled, or even tripled. It features a rose-cut diamond and sterling pendant, with Tahitian Keshi pearls; these pearls are quite unique, as they are non-nucleated.
She also showed me this necklace with tourmaline, Tahitian pearls and some excellent swinging tassels.
You may be getting the gist that Bess is definitely a pearl girl. If you’ve got some pearl jewelry that just isn’t doing it for you anymore, Bess can help you re-design them.
I couldn’t help but notice a display of larger-scale jewelry by Patti Crandall. I wasn’t familiar with her line, and I found out why — Studio Collections is the only place she sells her work! Take a gander at these three rings. I tried on the one with citrine topaz and moonstone. Now that’s a statement!
I also had to try on these three opaque diamond rings in 18K…
This necklace was also very intriguing. Made from a replica of an ancient Greek coin, you can see there are four spinels on the back side. Definitely a conversation piece.
On one whole wall of the store there are these great shadow-box cases, just beckoning you to come closer and inspect the treasures inside.
One case in particular was calling my name — that which was full of traditional Mexican earrings. They are all hand fabricated in Oaxaca and Taxco. Although they look like they could be vintage, they are newly made, and ready for the right buyer! Here’s a few pair of earrings from this group. Whether or not they’re your personal style, you’ve got to appreciate the detail in the workmanship.
As I was looking at the selection of earrings, Bess pulled out a very special pair of gold and pearl “gusano” (meaning caterpillar) earrings. This pair is in fact vintage. I’ve honestly never seen anything like them.
Speaking of vintage, there is a carefully curated section of estate jewelry. Since I’ve been educating myself on different eras of jewlery, I enjoyed trying them all on.
But have no fear if your taste is more on the contemporary side. You can find some beautiful designs, such as these rings by Sonoma County’s own Jennifer Dawes.
Should you decide to purchase something, either for yourself or for a gift, know that you’ll be getting a very specially wrapped box. As I watched Beth wrap up this ring box, we were laughing about how it reminded us from that scene from Love Actually where Alan Rickman is purchasing a necklace for his secretary. Humor! (Oh, and if you haven’t ever seen that movie — download it right away. It’s one of my all-time favorites.)
Bess, I so enjoyed visiting your store and getting the chance to know you in person. Thank you for all your time and expertise!
Oh, and if you’re looking for a yummy lunch nearby after jewelry shopping, I really enjoyed El Dorado Kitchen, right on the square. I’m still dreaming about the heirloom tomato salad…