The New York State of Jewelry

by Barbara Hodes and NYC Private Shopping Tour Photographed by Barbara Hodes
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Savvy New Yorkers all have their go-to places to shop for special pieces of jewelry, something that defines you and your style. Should you be looking for something unique or collectible, or want something custom and personalized for yourself, these stores are must-stops. The female owners are themselves the designers and artists. Each has a distinct vision, and their stores are a reflection of their tastes and passions. The stores are all fully stocked with beautiful pieces, but their bespoke work is what sets them apart. Indulge yourself, give a gift to a special person, or share your wish list. There is so much to love. And it is only to be had in New York.


Mociun mixes art and Jewelry in Williamsburg

Mociun has one of a kind jewelry

Mociun (683 Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg) is the fine jewelry sibling of the Mociun home design mecca several blocks away. The singular pieces that Caitlin Mociun designed needed a larger home, so a cool and sophisticated flagship was designed, inspired, as her jewels are, by the simple design principles of the Bauhaus School–but with a twist. The décor of the store is as special as what is for sale inside. Mociun was first known for her mixes of turquoise and antiques diamonds in unusual cluster shapes. The designs have stayed true to her aesthetic; she still uses antique stones but now the mixes include many different precious and semi-precious stones, pearls and metals as well as diamonds in many colors. The store is full of covetable pieces, but many of her customers come from all over the city and the country for custom pieces. Caitlin works with her customers, by appointment, to create individual pieces that will become new heirlooms. You can bring family gems and have them incorporated into your own new pieces. While you are in the store, you can also shop the changing mini gallery of other designer’s pieces for the home. And then there are the objects that are not for sale, that make this an even more special place. That mock Chinese takeout carton tucked on a console, a melting ice cream stick in a case, or a thumb with a ketchup pack sitting among locally designed pieces of furniture and other objects add to the lightness of being here.

Best personalized jewelry shopping in NY

Collect books and jewelry at Foundrae

Foundrae (52 Lispenard St.) was founded in 2015 by Beth Bugdaycay. The pieces that Beth creates are designed to tell your story using symbols from many ages and cultures. Her first pieces were inspired by cigar bands, but her ambition soon grew. The collection today is a multi-symbolic mélange of personal expression. The Foundrae store was designed by Beth and her partner and husband Murat, and is a truly personal expression of their beliefs and hopes. Beth is an avid collector of books and book-art, all displayed to great advantage in the store. Their book collection, along with books from friends and employees, also functions as a lending library. Feel free to come in and hang out, browse the jewelry, buy some, or not, and borrow a book. The rings, medallions, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and more are made in gold, silver, champlevé enamel, and stones. Each piece is packed with symbols, and where else can you shop by tenet? Create your own modern heirloom by combining different symbolic pieces on a necklace, or wear multiple pieces to tell your own story. There are pieces for men as well as for women, and a new collection of lighters, penknives, matchbook covers and incense burners touched with little pieces of magic. Should you want to really create your own story, Beth is happy to work with you to create extremely individual pieces to tell the story of your life and your dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Jewelry custom made by an artist

Jewelry sits amid pieces of art

Aurora Lopez Mejia (by appointment in Soho or UES  212 213-0050) is an artist and sculptor. Book an appointment in her studio, and choose a piece from the collection, or you can work with Aurora to create pieces of jewelry that evoke your own personal mantras. Her art and jewelry are word-centric. The artist conceptualizes and creates hand inscribed art and wearable talismans for her private customers and collectors. Aurora centers her work on a mix of ancient civilizations and current emotions to create unique pieces that embrace the power and etymology of words. Working in gold and precious stones, she invents necklaces, bracelets, medallions, and rings that she says can tell your story, or that of something or someone important to you. She jokes that her  wearable talismans are the accessory version of a tattoo. Her clients are her best advertisement. The pieces of jewelry are only found in her studios, and are collected like art. They can be worn alone, or mixed and matched to make a more powerful statement. While you are in the studio, you can also see many of Aurora’s sculptures and constructions. The sculptures are primarily in bronze and stone, and can also be commissioned as personal statements that share her word-based aesthetic. Make an appointment, to visit a very private and special world.

Jewelry with humor, Morse code and tiny charis

Tiny reconstructed robots and sacred agents

Cass Lilien works out of a tiny store/studio (24 Harrison St.) in Tribeca. You can often walk in and see her at work at her jeweler’s bench. The eclectic collection is designed for body, home and spirit. Cass works with many found antique pieces to create something unique and new. One of her signatures is bead necklaces and bracelets, with the gold beads spelling out messages and verses in Morse code. She has pieces on hand–say a verse of Lou Reed’s Oh, it’s such a perfect day or the word Love–but you can also order pretty much any word, words or message that you want. She also specializes in making necklaces that mimic robots from bits and pieces of reclaimed jewelry. The components can be hers, or you can bring her jewelry you are tired of and she will reimagine it into your own special piece. There are necklaces, rings and earrings made from all sorts of things, found and cast. Cass’ newest ones are made from gold Edwardian lingerie pins. I had never seen a lingerie pin, but they are pretty and look very modern. The miniscule shop has treasures in every corner. One wall is taken over by a new venture–a project called Sacred Agents. There is a cascade of hanging bowls filled with crystals, found pieces and whatever Cass feels like putting in them. There are shelves of containers filled with different types of minerals. You can pick out your own from what is there, or have a bowl filled with your choices, and even work with a spiritual consultant to connect you with the piece. It’s all slightly eccentric and fun.




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