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Judy Foreman: Montecito Sparkles with Top-Notch, Creative Jewelry Stores

Holiday shoppers are sure to find dazzling gifts — or maybe something just for themselves

Scott Harwin, manager of Bryant & Sons Ltd. in Montecito’s Upper Village, is happy to show off the store’s beautiful selection of pearls, diamonds and rubies, in rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants and timepieces. Click to view larger
Scott Harwin, manager of Bryant & Sons Ltd. in Montecito’s Upper Village, is happy to show off the store’s beautiful selection of pearls, diamonds and rubies, in rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants and timepieces. (Judy Foreman / Noozhawk photo via iPhone)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Shopping for holiday gifts in Montecito is easy and inspiring. The village has an excellent selection of must-have merchandise and service to satisfy even the most particular of shoppers.

Conveniently close to restaurants and hotels, and pet-friendly as well, shopping is a dream and does not include freeway traffic or long lines.

The lights are not only twinkling on the storefronts of Coast Village Road and the Upper Village, but they’re especially bright in the fine jewelry stores of Daniel Gibbings, Silverhorn, ARA Collection, Bryant & Sons, Trésor and Oliver & Espig.

While everyone has a wish list from a secret Santa or loved one, or even for yourself, gifts from one of the 93108’s fine jewelry stores are the most coveted. You may have one too-many sweaters, boots or scarves, but there is always room for one of a girl’s best friends: diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, exotic gemstones, gold and fine timepieces.

Silverhorn

Since 1976, Silverhorn has been handcrafting exquisite pieces of jewelry of the finest materials in its elegant Coast Village Road and Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore showrooms. The husband-and-wife team of Carole and Michael Ridding have created an international brand known for high-quality custom pieces.

Michael, a gemologist travels the world year round, seeking rare and unique gemstones, while Carol, as CEO, works with the company’s highly trained European design team to create pieces that appear in museums, fine art collections around the world, on Hollywood’s red carpet and on everyday residents in Santa Barbara.

Silverhorn, which also is an official Rolex watch retailer, has a special Rolex showroom in its Coast Village Road featuring the latest in prestige and timeless timepieces.

“This time of the year, bracelets, earrings, brooches and pendants are high on everyone’s list of holiday gift giving and receiving,” Carole said.

A stackable set of beaded bangles available in 18-karat yellow white or rose gold were one of my favorite items for their versatility for day or night wear.

Silverhorn is located at 1155 Coast Village Road and at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, 1260 Channel Drive.

Daniel Gibbings

For more than 20 years, Daniel Gibbings has been designing fine jewelry. A trip to his intimate store is like time travel to a far-away foreign destination. Many of the artifacts and design elements in the store are heavily influenced by the heritage of the owners, South African-born Daniel Gibbings and Setenay Ozdemir-Osman, who was born in Istanbul, Turkey.

The showroom is handsomely appointed with Gibbings’ artifacts that he’s collected on his travels, including velvets, antique rugs, stone, woodwork and original artwork.

Exotic, rare and bold bracelets, stackable rings, one-of-a-kind pieces, mix-and-match hoops and drops pendants are just some of the items that fill the showcases. The team also has design exclusivity in Santa Barbara with Forevermark diamonds, a subsidiary of De Beers.

“We like to set the trends and don’t follow them,” Ozdemir-Osman said.

The partners support local charities and nonprofit organizations, such as the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Direct Relief, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Human Rights Watch and Keep A Child Alive, which was founded by singer Alicia Keyes.

Daniel Gibbings is located at 1143 Coast Village Road.

ARA Collection

A recent addition to Coast Village Road from State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, ARA Collection owner Cüneyt Akdolu brings Mediterranean antiquities to his shop, which also carries jewelry that is wearable and modern.

Manager Cindy Freund told me that everything is hand-hewn in 24-karat gold, and ARA’s origins trace back to the Aegean Riviera area of Bodrum, Turkey, where Akdolu and his brother were raised.

The Montecito shop is Akdolu’s only retail shop, but it sells to more than 350 stores throughout the world.

Jewelry is especially complimentary with the fashion styles of today’s showrooms, and ARA has an array of stones, from black diamonds, turquoise and white sapphires. But the gold is what really caught my eye.

There is a lot of inventory — from rings, bracelets, earrings and pendants — and I enjoyed spending a long time carefully looking and trying on many pieces.

ARA Collection is located at 1253 Coast Village Road, conveniently neighboring Maison K, Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery, Cos Bar of Montecito and J.McLaughlin.

Bryant & Sons Ltd.

Since 1965, Bryant & Sons Ltd. has been one of the premier family-owned master jewelers in Santa Barbara. The store maintains a large showroom at 812 State St. in the heart of downtown, but seven years ago opened a small but traditional showroom to better serve customers in the Upper Village.

Managed by Scott Harwin, of the Harwin family jewelers, the Montecito showroom carries a beautiful selection of pearls, diamonds and rubies, in rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants and timepieces.

The selection may be intimate, but I had no trouble zeroing in on several pieces that I would be happy to own. Some of my favorites were an 18-karat white gold diamond and ruby necklace, an 18-karat yellow gold Maltese cross pendant featuring a 3.13-karat black opal center and four triangular rubellite tourmalines, a pair of 18-karat yellow gold free-form diamond pave dangle earrings and an 18-karat rose gold gentlemen’s Baume & Mercier Clifton timepiece featuring a chocolate dial.

Bryant & Sons is located at 1482 East Valley Road.

Trésor

Facing the Montecito Village green and neighbors with Imagine, Trésor features a large selection of exquisite jewelry. With an extensive inventory of vintage and estate jewelry, including some pieces dating to the 1880s, the shop also has oil paintings by Sonoma fine artist Don Hatfield and large mineral rocks.

My jaw dropped the first time I entered the showroom of owners Paco Buxton and Jeremy Norris, graduate gemologist — both born and raised in Santa Barbara and alumni of Crane Country Day School.

Open for six years, Trésor is an estate jewelry lover’s paradise. It carries, buys and consigns a collection of fine vintage jewelry, including signed pieces from Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Trésor is located at 1470 East Valley Road. Considered the best-kept secret in Montecito, I hope more people will discover it and enjoy the treasure of merchandise and meet the knowledgeable owners.

Oliver & Espig

After 40 years of doing business on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, Oliver & Espig has moved to Montecito’s Upper Village.

A spacious window-filled showroom with natural light makes a beautiful space to display the store’s well-known collection of fine paintings, sculptures and custom fine jewelry.

Hosting several events in December to meet old and new customers, Oliver & Espig is located at 1482 East Valley Road next to Tecolote Book Shop.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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