By Suze Solari
Walking into GEM, in Oak Park is an invigorating experience for the senses. With a background in retail merchandising and design, Oak Park native and mother of two Boys, Laura Kistos began designing jewelry while she lived in Portland, Oregon (my home town, yeah!) several years back. Upon returning to Chicago, and while working with a number of boutiques she "opened her first shop, on a whim" she says, a little further north from her current location on Marion Street 7 years ago. After a 5 year stint in Bucktown, Laura is back in Oak Park; and how fortunate for us!
Unique wedding rings and other vintage inspired fine jewelry are displayed artfully in cases, as well as on dress forms, branches and other found objects. Soft, gauzy scarves, and sumptuously tooled leather handbags make their home here, as well as special collectables. I believe in indulgences both big & small. So I've pulled together a treat for the eyes, arms & body:
Pyrite, Ruby & Laboradorite, and my favorite: Sleeping beauty turquoise & leather bracelets are simply stunning: $120 - $160. Summer is speaking to me as I don a 'hand bracelet' from Vanessa Mooney, $45. and brass tribal ring, $78. I'm not sure you can find Chan Luu elsewhere in Oak Park, a designer who is leading the industry in innovation with her wrap bracelets. The hand crochet, tribal beaded earrings are a steel for $45. I also covet the magnifying glass pendant.
Gorgeous wedding bands and engagement rings have a vintage look and feel, crafted of rose gold, white topaz, yellow canary diamonds and a trove of other precious stones. You can find the Bebeka line here, a local jewelry designer of hand fired porcelain pieces, paired with vintage findings.
Spring is bursting with the most unique jewels & gifts at GEM! Laura and her creative, helpful staff are ready to help you find beautiful things for yourself and the loved ones in your life - something for Mother's Day perhaps? I am hoping.