NEW YORK. Yesterday afternoon, I headed over to The Store at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) for RE:FINE (see “Just in Time for Holiday…“). A few hours were blocked off in the late afternoon for editors to visit early, before the museum opened the store to the public. Nearly all of the designers—32 in total—were present last night, which made for a truly packed house!
The Store at the Museum is floor-to-ceiling windows and perched on the corners of Broadway and Eighth Avenue across from Columbus Circle, and light streams in from the front (facing the Circle) and the Eighth Avenue side. Glass shelves lining the windows further keep the space bright, and the eclectic assortment of housewares and accessories for sale are an ideal high-end companion to all the contemporary jewels that filled the jewelry cases.
As I stated yesterday, the works from these 32 jewelry designers, co-curated by Beth Bernstein of BeJeweledMag.com and Franci Sagar, vice president of brand and retail development, will be for sale in the store through the end of January. Popular collections, however, may remain longer, according to customer requests.
I snapped as many shots as I could for social media, mingled with my designer friends, learned about some of their new collections (Stella Flame was there with a new Golden Dewdrop collection, and Lika Behar brought lots of pearls), and got to meet Franci.
She explained that while The Store had long worked with a lot of fashion (read: costume) jewelry artisans, pulling in contemporary fine jewelry designers was a natural extension. “We want to bring these two audiences—fashion and fine jewelry collectors—together and bring in an even younger customer with the bridal jewelry offerings,” she explained. “We’ve never offered bridal before.”
Franci and Beth pulled in outstanding designers for the fashion-forward fine and wedding jewelry categories, so I hope that this ongoing experiment to sell modern fine jewelry in The Store will continue. Wedding jewelry designers included Ruth Tomlinson, Marian Maurer, and three more noted in the first caption—all ideal for speaking to a first-time bride because of their untraditional looks.
Franci noted that she saw return customers—one of whom stopped us mid-conversation to chat her up and compare a gold bangle from Stella Flame to a similar one on Franci’s wrist—for each edition of the sale. “We want to see how this evolves, but people like to uncover new talent and like buying from museums,” she continued. “I would say 80 percent of our fine jewelry purchases are made by women, for themselves.”
Further, purchases from The Store are not just a transaction—Franci calls them “a new form of philanthropy to celebrate and support working artists.”
“When our customers make purchases with us, we make it a point to share with them that it supports not only artists trying to make their careers from work, but the Museum’s exhibitions and educational programs,” she continues. “So, buying with us becomes a feel-good purchase that reflects a certain commitment to a set of social values that supports the arts.”
Moving forward, The Store should be less crowded because all of the artists won’t be present (30 designers plus guests made for a packed house), but their pieces will remain! Check them out through January.
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