NOLA's Family Jewels
One facet of New Orleans' rich culture is its artistic influence from jewelry businesses and designers. Still today, there are many local and numerous family-owned businesses in the city that still help to keep up these reputations. These businesses, that are at least 15 years old, provide options for all.
New Orleans showcases how its artistic scene can shine in many small ways, one such being the many local and family-owned businesses that offer jewelry selections. Many modern-day businesses offer preservation of legacies to Mardi Gras and New Orleans as a whole, either through contributions to krewes, including favors and pins, or indirect ways of supporting local craftsmanship with city and state inspired designs. Yet to look at today, a reflection of the past is required, and a New Orleans' origin story is not complete without a nod to the influence of its role as a major port city.
According to Lydia Blackmore, the curator of small objects at the Historic New Orleans Collection, it wasn't long after the French colony's official founding that the port's establishment grew. With it, so too did the excitement of European goods and designs reaching the area and particularly their impact on the city's social scene. Her further insights share how when New Orleans first began its more ritualistic Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations, nearly all attire and goods were imported directly from Paris. As years passed and New Orleans established its own specialty traditions, a need grew to have more readily available items without as much time needed to import, such as favors, pins, and costume accessories.
This shift of necessity allowed local artisans to showcase their craft and capabilities. It enabled them to work with local krewes to add to signature styles, aiding in developing the visuals that have so greatly influenced the look and feel of Mardi Gras. This work has raised awareness for more local artisans and businesses in the city and has helped them to be recognized for their contributions to creativity and culture. Jewelry is a visual that can easily be added to accessorize or embellish, or serve as a full statement look, for individuals or groups. It may be small, but preserving it today cements it as a piece of history in the future.
10 NOLA Jewelers to Visit
A family-owned business since opening in 1898, Adler's has served as a constant of timeless elegance within the jewelry scene of the city, while contributing to the legacy of New Orleans craftsmanship. They are still creating custom designs for krewes' pins and favors, retaining traditions from their early years. The charm of shopping here instantly greets you with beautifully designed window displays and a knowledgeable staff. A stop here ensures you know you're supporting a long sustained local business.
Fleur D' Orleans has found an out of the box approach to honoring New Orleans and its rich surroundings. Through bringing in photography and architecture, they have crafted pieces honoring metalsmithing and iron work traditions found in the city. The results are eye catching yet versatile for everyday wear and invoke small touches of memories of the city. Their array of fleur de lis amongst other items showcases how this iconic symbol can still be made into surprising original renditions.
Mignon Faget early on had an eye for design, dedication to quality, and staying true to her vision, all of which have remained true since her business' founding. From her early days of designing a clothing fashion line, she has seen jewelry as wearable art. Today, all work, from ideas to craftsmanship, is completed in-house at Mignon Faget and contributes to its mission of "every wearer's story."
As both business partners and a couple, Juan and Silvia Asturias have honored their international heritage and the many rich cultures which have impacted New Orleans. Both from Guatemala originally, they've grown from there and expanded upon the international influence by featuring many items from around the world in Sterling Silvia, as well as items reminiscent of classic New Orleans looks with modern sterling silver finishes.
Symmetry Jewelers and Designers offers many stand out, contemporary takes on classic looks. Since opening in 1975, they have featured local, national, and even international designs and artists. Their collection of various artists helps further contribute to the local jewelry legacy by bringing in differing perspectives to add to the diversity in this scene.
Friend and Company Fine Jewelers first began from Patricia Friend's love for jewelry and making it accessible to all. The family business grew as her son Ken joined the team and later his wife Nina. In addition to contemporary selections, their antique and estate options are another strong suit for reminiscing of past eras.
Jack Sutton showcases how family operations can contribute to local histories and economies. Jack Sutton grew up among a full family of jewelry store owners with his uncles. After learning and working with one such uncle, he felt the call of the family trade and opened his own store, which now has two locations. Along with many options, the fleur de lis line brings a shimmer and personal touch as well with hand engravings.
As a staple in the French Quarter since 1985, Naghi's Jewelry hopes to share in all their customers' life celebrations. They specialize in gemstones with a broad range of collections in numerous options. They help to bring a kaleidoscope of dazzling effects to this area of local businesses, with appeals to all tastes of jewelry.
At Wellington and Company, the ambiance and products invoke feelings of the early days of New Orleans glamor. With a warm team of staff who are also trained by the Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society, they pride themselves in providing knowledge to customers.
Having opened its doors in 1962, Fischer's Jewelry is another family business that has been able to cater to modern design trends while still invoking nostalgic feelings with classic pieces.