Seattle’s Treasures!

I recently made my way to Seattle for a fun girl’s weekend. (In fact I think I’m still recovering…) I didn’t have time to do any shopping research before leaving (oh, the horrors!), so I just relied on tips from locals and hitting the pavement to see what I could find. I knew there were some gorgeous items just waiting to be discovered, and I was right!

I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear, but I think I was shopping within about and hour and a half of landing! The first boutique I visited turned out to be one of my favorites of the trip. Alhambra is conveniently located right near Pike’s Place Market, and I was delighted to meet one of the owners, a lovely Turkish woman named Serpil. When you walk into the shop, you feel transported to some exotic location. The merchandise is cleverly displayed in every nook and cranny. She carries some of my favorite jewelry designers, from Erica Molinari to Nava Zahavi. There’s a wide array of price points and styles, so I’m sure that most shoppers can find something they just “must” have.

Alhambra Seattle
Serpil and Amy

alhambra seattle
A glimpse of the exotic decor

(Side bar: If you’re into vintage jewelry, check out Isadora’s Antique jewelry just across First Street. I spotted some cool Native American pieces and some lovely 1890’s Persian turquoise.)

If you wander a few blocks further down First, you can’t miss Watson Kennedy, which is a virtual cabinet of curiosities come to life! It’s a huge store, and there is jewelry tucked in quite a few places, so you really have to spend some time looking. (like that’s a chore, right?!) I thought these earrings (made by a friend of the owner) were quite intriguing, as I do have sort of a “thing” for religious artifacts. They’re made from vintage French medallions.

watston kenney seattle jewelry
Charming earrings

Watson Kennedy doesn’t sell any fine jewelry, so you can be sure that they have lots of baubles at accessible price points. It’s a truly eclectic mix of goodies!

watson kennedy jewelry
Colorful delights at every turn!

In talking with locals (and the ever-so-helpful concierge), I next found myself heading about 20 minutes from downtown to the Ballard neighborhood. This is purported to be an “artsy” area of town, which in my mind translates to unique jewelry! I was about done exploring and hadn’t come across anything that turned my head…and then I discovered Curtis Steiner. This triangular, well-lit shop is just amazing! Everything in this delightful boutique is either antique or hand-made by (predominantly) Washington artists. The owner designs exquisitely feminine necklaces, many of which can transform into short or long lengths.

curtis steiner necklaces
A tri-level display of Curtis' designs

The displays of antique jewelry abound!

curtis steiner jewelry
A parade of bangles

curtis steiner jewelry
Gorgeous antique pieces

The walls of the store are covered in floor-to-ceiling displays of hand-made greeting cards, also a creation of Curtis.

curtis steiner seattle
Hangin' with Curtis

Of course, all this shopping makes a girl hungry. In Ballard, stop by La Carta de Oaxaca for some amazing Mexican food. Yum! Or if downtown, make your way to the Purple Cafe & Wine Bar for drinks and dinner. Gotta keep a shopping girl well-fueled!

Native American Jewelry

So Native American jewelry can go one of two ways…horribly wrong (are you still in your Pocahontas Halloween costume?!) or terribly chic (channeling a Ralph Lauren ad). Personally, I’ve always been drawn to this genre of accessories, and it works in beautifully with my boho chic personal style. On my most recent trip to Las Vegas, I unexpectedly learned a little more about it.

While in Vegas you will usually find me browsing the luxury shops. But this time I had the opportunity to take the public bus (thanks, Jeff) down to Fremont Street. (I don’t think I’d been there since I was a child!) While this area definitely is a whole other side of Vegas, I stumbled upon a hidden Vegas treasure — the Indian Arts & Crafts store right near the New El Portal theater.

New El Portal, Las Vegas
My highlight of Fremont Street

While the shop was definitely home to lots of cheesy tchotchkes, I was quite impressed by the jewelry counter. As a major fan of turquoise, I was drawn to the array of shades from blues to greens. Yum!

Navajo jewelry
Navajo jewelry

All their jewelry is hand made by local tribes. Each piece has the initials of the artisan on the backside, verifying it’s authenticity. When I came home, I pulled out a thin, Indian bracelet that my mom received in high school. Sure enough, there was the initials of the artist! Unlike a piece I bought near Los Alamos, New Mexico — which I clearly purchased at a non-reputable place.

I came across this lovely woman while shopping in Burlingame shortly after my trip. Her incredible Squash Blossom necklace literally stopped me in my tracks. THIS is how to do the Native American thing in an extremely stylish way! Her outfit was simple, yet elegant, and she was only highlighting that one piece. Often people think if you’re wearing the necklace, then wouldn’t it be better to also add the coordinating ring and earrings? Absolutely not. This is when you end up looking like you’re wearing a costume.

Navajo turquoise necklace
Amazing Navajo turquoise necklace

I am definitely on the hunt for my own Squash Blossom necklace. I did encounter some fabulous ones at Peregrine Galleries in Montecito, CA a couple weeks ago, but none that went home with me. I’m confident that the right one will appear at the right time.