I always make it a point to visit the Brentwood Country Mart in southern California when I’m down there — love the cozy layout and the variety of stores, including jewelry gems Broken English and Pippa Small. When the Marin Country Mart opened in Larkpsur, I certainly made it a point to visit. Though I must say, in it’s infancy, there were still many open storefronts and NO jewelry to mention. Girl, this has all changed with the opening of Hutchinson Fine Jewelry at the end of 2014. This now makes stopping at the Mart a must when I’m up in Marin.
As I entered this jewel box of a store, I was stuck by the stunning display, with three walls of glass-fronted vignettes, representing over 20 different fine jewelry designers. (Note to self: when assisting clients design their new closets, keep this idea in mind!)
Manager Kellie Phinney was very generous in showing me around and letting me play with all the jewels. She told me that the owners, Kary Chendo and Miranda Abrams, choose lines that are utterly unique in their own way. “They want the jewelry to be loved and worn every day, and then passed down.” My philosophy exactly!
I was amped to see they carry The Woods, who I’ve desperately missed seeing ever since Carrots closed in San Francisco. There was a magnetic pull to this mother-of-pearl necklace on a silver and pave diamond chain.
Hutchinson is also one of the few places to represent Carolina Bucci. She weaves magic with gold and silk on a loom from the 1800’s. Take a gander at these necklaces — the detail is amazing.
I tried on this wide bracelet, and it felt like buttah on my wrist, without the calories!
Monique Pean is always one of my faves, both for her designs and her environmental consciousness. How can you go wrong with fossilzed wooly mammoth scrimshaw and diamonds? (Once again, if I had a bottomless wallet…this would be mine.)
Pippa Small is right up there at the top of ethical designers as well. She hand selects each stone she uses, designs around their natural beauty, and uses clean gold, which is, “Gold mined without impacting the environment, respecting labor rights and often produced by community cooperatives.” Brava.
I was also very excited to see Bay Area local, Susie Fox, glittering in the cases. This double drop ball pendant necklace with cognac diamonds is what I would describe as subtle luxury.
I know the collection at Hutchinson is only going to grow, so I will make it a point to stop in more often. Have you visited yet? Do tell!
I have this beautifully decorated folder called my “Style File” that sits front and center on my desk. Whenever I see something in a magazine that I love, I rip it out and add it to my file. These are not necessarily items that I can afford or even fit, but they just speak to me. Through this process, I’m really able to see my style direction, and it inspires me each and every time I look through it.
Well about a year ago I saw a pair of earrings (though I can’t even remember in what publication!) that just took my breath away. They were an elongated teardrop of some sort of horn, with the tiniest of diamonds carefully inlaid in each one. I HAD to try them on! So off I went to Barney’s, and voila, there they were, in the Monique Pean case! Yes! They were perfect — they suited my face shape, complemented my coloring, and they were as light as a feather. Had they been in my budget, I would have gone home wearing them. But alas…I am left to just dream about them.
With this experience still fresh in my mind over a year later, imagine how delighted I was to meet this talented designer in person at the Couture show.
Once I started researching Monique, it wasn’t just her incredible designs that drew me to her. In fact, she is “committed to luxury bespoke products that promote social and environmental responsibility.” Her entire line is comprised of sustainable, conflict-free and fair-trade materials. She is active in the No Dirty Gold campaign, as well as various other charities. She explained to me that mining gold releases mercury into the earth. (that’s not good!) And creating just one ring NOT using sustainable materials can create up to 20 tons of waste!! I can’t even wrap my head around that one. One of her main thrusts has been to help people get clean drinking water. Currently, she has made that happen for over 5000 people for the next 20 years. Now if that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is!!
OK, I can go on and on about this highly-awarded designer, who’s line launched in 2006, but I’ll stop there. Let’s get down to the jewels!!
Here is a classic example of how she uses fossilized walrus ivory along with black diamonds to craft a one-of-a-kind statement ring.
And here is a bracelet also made from the fossilized walrus ivory. You can really see how the natural materials have great color variation.
Not all of her pieces are on the larger scale. She also has many delicate designs as well. I think these opal slice studs would be an amazing addition to my jewelry box! (dreaming again….) She told me that all the opals she uses are hand-chiseled, with no dynamite used.
While this necklace is about the same price as a luxury automobile, I’d still choose the necklace! It’s created from diamond slices and slices of fossilized wooly mammoth.
It’s no surprise that Monique has a huge celebrity following as well, from Michelle Obama to stars of screen and stage. Here’s Leighton Meester adorned in some lovely earrings by Pean.
I just love that this jewelry is making such a positive impact on the earth, in addition to making it more gorgeous. I hope to one day own my own piece by Monique, but in the meanwhile, I will keep appreciating the collection and all Monique does for our planet.