What else can one say when their favorite store makes a return to Oak Park? It’s with great pleasure that I feature my first BIOP (Back in Oak Park!) in my BLOP!

Laura Kitsos has been my friend and neighbor for over 13 years. Her jewelry store GEM, 108 N. Marion, has handmade jewelry from local and international designers. Her on-site studio is the perfect place for the special people in your life. Laura has been featured nationally (hello — can you say People magazine!) for years, most recently in The Reader as the place to go for the most unusual engagement ring. Even Daryl Hannah has found her way to GEM for a special necklace that she had to have. Laura’s taste is simply spectacular and elegant. Where else can one piece of jewelry make you feel like a million?

Years ago, GEM was located on Marion Street, north of Barbara’s Bookstore (now Potbelly). At that time, Laura juggled her Oak Park and Bucktown stores. When construction woes became too much, she closed her Oak Park store to concentrate on Bucktown. Last summer, Laura learned of some shady dealings regarding her Bucktown lease… long story short she’s BACK! Lucky us! And oh what a store!

A little over a month ago, I peeked into her Marion Street location only to oooh and ahhh over the gorgeous vibe I could already feel. What a primo location with ambiance to boot! The place has really come together! It offers an urban-yet-sophisticated vibe unlike any other store around in Oak Park.

Laura’s new store was worth the wait. Check out her amazing pieces in the above photo gallery. Anything you find at GEM will be treasured for life.

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Lourdes Nicholls

Chances are that if you don't know Lourdes, you don't really know Oak Park. This Oak Park mom of three can't walk a village block without running into someone she knows. She's about as effervescent as...

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