Angie’s Jewelry & Gifts: The Warmest Place in Town
by RONA MANN/photos Stephanie Sittnick
You feel it the very moment you open the door. The warmth, the sincerity, the appreciation for the simple and the beautiful. And you are drawn to it. You want to be part of it.
This is Angie’s Jewelry & Gifts located right in the middle of one of the friendliest and warmest towns on the shoreline: Old Saybrook, defined by an all-American main street where merchants not only welcome both visitors and locals alike and with the same gusto, but also work together to make their street successful, approachable, and filled with fun activities twelve months a year. So it just seemed the right fit for Angie Marvin to open her business eight years ago on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Here is a woman so honestly filled with warmth and love that it just spills out the moment you meet her. She is all at once delightful, happy, and utterly genuine.
You cannot fake this kind of joy nor cultivate happiness that doesn’t exist. People know when it’s real, and Angie Marvin is the real deal. She came by it years ago as a little girl growing up in Miami. The daughter of two Dominican parents, and with a grandmother who had a passion for jewelry herself, Angie was a happy little girl with an innate joy and love of beauty. She manifested this by playing with Barbie dolls; not entirely content with them the way they were, she worked diligently to fashion ornate crowns and jewelry for her dolls to enhance their beauty. “I have always thought that jewelry is a piece of art,” Angie says. “I still do… it’s timeless.”
So as a child she delighted in creating timeless art for her dolls. Today she culls that same sense of delight in creating jewelry for women. “All women are beautiful,” Angie says. “They are sexy, unique, different, and I love to make beautiful things for them that make them happy and even more beautiful.”
There never was any other path for Angie. Beginning her career in Miami at age 18 she designed earrings and sold them “all over the islands. I have always had the need to create, and I still do,” says Marvin who finds joy in every day as she unlocks the door of her store. You won’t find the “popular” recognizable jewelry here. No dangling bracelets with requisite charms you can add at will. No catchy phrases on metalwork worn bangle after bangle up the arm. No, at Angie’s Jewelry & Gifts you don’t look like everyone else because Angie celebrates the difference and uniqueness in women through her designs. Here jewelry is created for the woman who is her own woman, where one of a kind is the rule rather than the exception. While Angie does sell exceptional pieces created by other artists, she specializes in what she herself creates for each specific woman. Angie Marvin is not a shopkeeper, but an artist. The store at 252 Main Street is her gallery and showcases her passion of fashioning beautiful things for beautiful women.
You will find nothing at Angie’s that you could ever find in the mall, in a catalogue, or online. Her art is unique and very, very personal. Her canvas is every woman who has ever entered her shop because she has a deep respect for the beauty and uniqueness in every woman… and it shows.
“This is my passion,” she intones in her slight Dominican accent and with a serious sense of resolve. “I want to create something beautiful for my customer that she will love wearing. It has to be about her, not about me. I want to capture who she is and what she wants in this piece of jewelry. What I really love is when a customer brings me a piece that maybe they don’t like so much. I can turn it into something beautiful that they will love and wear for a lifetime.”
But Angie is conflicted by the thoughts some people have of her art, thinking it too expensive.” Sometimes they open the door, just look in, and say, ‘No thank you’ and walk away without ever coming in and looking. They think I’m too expensive, but actually I have beautiful jewelry in all prices for all tastes. People should come in and see for themselves. They should not have to be intimidated or make up their mind that it’s too expensive. That’s not true.”
Angie’s Jewelry & Gifts does not overwhelm the store with merchandise. Upon opening the door the customer first encounters a warm and attractive seating area complete with comfortable chairs, fresh flowers, and mints. Angie enjoys greeting her customers here as though they were guests in her own home, rather than meeting them over a cold, impersonal counter for the first time. Every detail of the shop has been likewise orchestrated to show off jewelry as art, rather than look like a store. Many of the pieces are showcased in a highly polished cabinet otherwise reserved for fine china; others occupy space in glass cases and are arranged artistically, not stacked together.
The door opens and a customer breezes in, smiling. “I want to buy everything!” she sings out. Both artist and client laugh as Angie imparts a warm hug. This woman has received magnificent Indonesian baroque pearls from her husband… first a necklace, then a bracelet, and now simple drop earrings, the delicate, colorful pearls supported by rows of tiny diamond baguettes. Each piece was designed by Angie specifically for this woman’s style and personality and is totally unique. “Her husband said he wanted something elegant, but simple, so I created this,” Marvin says with obvious pride. The couple is about to embark upon a cruise, and the woman cannot wait to show off Angie’s wearable art.
But not everything at Angie’s is created by the owner. She has one of a kind pieces from her extensive travels throughout Portugal, France, Italy, Spain, Indonesia. There are Mikimoto pearls from Japan and jewelry from all over the globe, yet Angie is never content. She is always thinking of her next trip… looking, looking, looking for timeless pieces of art “to add to a woman. I am dedicated to making women beautiful,” she says with the characteristic smile that lights up her entire face, her hazel eyes flashing.
There are hand selected diamonds here, classic gold, pearls, gemstones, and yet nothing is untouchable. Angie’s Jewelry and Gifts is affordable. There is no other jewelry store like this on Main Street in Old Saybrook and really nothing like it on the shoreline. But preconceived notions aside, it takes only to open the door and walk in a bit farther to see what is possible, to see what is beautiful, to see what is affordable in wearable art that is timeless, and to meet the owner, the artist, and the essence of all this.
Come in…meet the little girl who knew that even the beautiful, iconic Barbie needed something more to add to her beauty. Come meet Angie.
Angie’s Jewelry & Gifts is located at 252 Main Street, Old Saybrook www.angiesjewelryandgifts.com