Blanc in San Anselmo, CA

Some days my schedule works out effortlessly, and Monday was one of those days. Even though I went to SOMA to pack a client for a month of travel in the morning, met a colleague for lunch in the Marina in SF, and had another client in Marin later in the day, I still found myself with a whole free hour! And not only was this a lovely gift in itself, but my break just happened to be right near Blanc, a store which had been on my “must visit” list for quite some time– in fact ever I learned they carry Thalia Jewelry. (You may remember I wrote about seeing her line at the WJA Designers by the Bay event last fall.)

blanc in san anselmo, ca
When I walked in, I couldn’t believe it, but there was Ashley Morgan, another jewelry designer extraordinaire! (Click here if you missed my article about her.) Universes colliding!

Thalia Jewelry was beautifully displayed in a big case when you walk in the store. I can never get enough of her bracelets with pave diamond clasps! And I love how the rings and cross were artfully sitting on an old book. That completely fits the old world luxe aesthetic of the line.

thalia jewelry
thalia jewelry
Ashely’s gems were showcased at the opposite end of the table, and her rings gave me complete jewelry envy. (btw, I can’t believe I didn’t snap a photo of Ashley, as the earrings she was wearing were to die for!!)

ashley morgan ring
ashley morgan rings
There were definitely some new designers for me as well. The ombre on this multi-chain bracelet by Daniele Basta is a little bit rocker and a little bit boho at the same time. I seriously have a thing for Italian design! And Italian food…and Italian men…I’m seeing a theme here…hmmm

daniele basta bracelet
These chunky rings by Lee Brennan Design have a similar vibe, and they blend perfectly with the clothing sold at the store — edgy leather jackets, shoes from Calleen Cordero, and many European designs,  just to mention a few.

lee brennan design rings
I was also taken with these mixed metal bracelets by Bash Jewelry (hand made in New Mexico). They have such a great weight to them!

bash jewelry cuffs
Natalie Hicks, daughter of the store’s owner, Nancy, also has a line at the store — Justine Alexandra. She has some great pave diamond pieces, including a bangle with polki diamonds. Beautiful!

justine alexandra jewelry

I thoroughly enjoyed whiling away my break trying on jewelry, and I know I’ll be back!

blanc san anselmo ca

Carmel Crossroads: Unexpected Gems

When people think about shopping in Carmel, California, they usually envision ambling along Ocean Avenue, with all it’s tucked away courtyards and charming architecture. But that’s not the only place to shop, especially for jewelry. Carmel Crossroads is a shopping area located just south of Ocean Avenue, at the intersection of Highway 1 and Rio Road. (You can’t miss it–you turn left at the traffic light just past Carmel Valley Road.)

One of my favorite places to explore is European Jeweler & Goldsmith. At first glance, you may not think this store has what you’re looking for, but you’d be surprised! I always manage to find some amazing treasures at almost too-good-to-be-true prices.

Suzan @ EJ&G
With Suzan at European Jeweler & Goldsmith

This store sells both new and consignment jewelry, and you’ll find everything from costume to fine all in the same cases. You really have to spend some time looking with a discerning eye at the merchandise, and I have no doubt that there will be pieces that you must try on!

One of the coolest things is that they sell their jewelry at 30% off the sticker price! And…they offer a “secret” house account with no interest for up to 12 months, depending on the piece. How can you lose?!

I also love their collection of Carmen Priolo jewelry, which I first encountered quite a few years back at the Saratoga Rotary Art show. Her jewelry is chunky with subdued metallics, and it’s beyond gorgeous. I believe that this is one of the only places where you can find her line outside of particular art shows.

carmen priolo jewelry
Carmen Priolo jewelry

While you’re at the Crossroads, you also have to stop into She, a very fashion-forward boutique crammed with merchandise. (It’s just across the way and up a bit from the last shop.) When I walked in there last week, the sales woman, Heidi, actually remembered me and what I had purchased there a year ago–that’s customer service!

This is one of the only boutiques where I’ve encountered Calleen Cordero jewelry, which is a designer most known for her extraordinary shoes and bags. Her leather jewelry is equally fab, with sort of a bohemian, rock-and-roll edge.

Calleen Cordero jewelry

Here, in one of the display windows of She, you’ll get an idea of the esthetic, which is very chic with an urban edge. Not exactly what you’d expect to find in this locale.

window @ She
Window display at She

So next time you’re in Carmel, don’t limit yourself to Ocean Ave. Head a bit south to Carmel Crossroads and poke around. And if you have time for a meal, also stop by the nearby Earthbound Farm for a delicious organic treat! Gotta keep that blood sugar up for all the shopping you’re going to do. 🙂