Category Archives: unique jewelry

A Shopping Treat: Babalu, Miami

Miami Best Shopping
It’s a rare treat when you find a retail experience that excites you with seemingly simple items like toothpaste. Anyone who’s had a ball at the original Babalu Miami location on the famed 1111 Lincoln Road, one of the world’s most renowned retail and dining spots designed by Herzog & De Meuron, understands Babalu is no ordinary store.
We like it because it’s a glamorous conceptual twist on the ubiquitous hotel sundries shop, the curated selection begins with classed-up, sassed-up basics at a high design level —think crème de la crème of categories as common as toothpaste and chewing gum. All perfectly finished off with Babalu’s signature deluxe gift wrap program. If Babe Paley and the other society swans got together to open a convenience store, this would be the place.
shopping in miami
Shhh… it’s a best kept shopping secret
It brings out the kid in the candy store as a true point of discovery with a continually evolving brand assortment and merchandising concept. A typical visit may offer Missoni, Comme Des Garcons, Alexandra von Furstenberg and Paul Smith, among other coveted brands, as well as emerging and exclusive designers. Merchandise weaves in organic apothecary products, resort wear, fine and costume jewelry, hair accessories, small leather goods, travel, sunglasses, fragrances, books, house wares, pet items, beach towels and gifts from big-ticket purchases to a little something special for one’s host.
comme des garcon perfume
Just a few unique fragrances on display
Owners Greg Melvin and Paolo Ambu also use their talents to create the signature Perfume Bar featuring the whos-who in the industry: Humiecki & Graef, Carner Barcelona, Montale, Mona di Orio, Mancera, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, which is one of the most sought-after scents by the same nose behind Dior and Gaultier fragrances,Mark Buxton, who created Comme des Garcons’ perfumes, and Amouage, which was custom made for the Sultan of Oman. Scented home lines include Fornasetti Profumi, Costes, Ex Voto Paris and Europe’s oldest candle maker Cire Trudon.
I don’t know what these are (lighters?), but I want them!
John Rawlins, the former creative director for retail design at Bergdorf Goodman who designed the original Babalu, was brought on board to also design the Palm Beach location. And shoppers aren’t the only ones enjoying themselves. Melvin and Ambu have made it their mission to source stylish, fresh, often wild, wares. They couldn’t be happier partaking in a lifelong shopping spree.
Power-packed grab-and-go sophistication, for you, the sassy kid in the candy store.

A Flair Necessity: Tribal Matters

For the past two years, Katie Luong went through something any thirty year-old could relate to; she was bored and restless… and she desperately needed a new life plan. While working as photographer in a hospital Maternity Ward, she captured mothers as they first held their newborn babies. Although the awesome wonder of childbirth delighted her, she also began to feel just a little awkward about charging people for sharing such an intimate experience. Thus life, itself, began to take on a different – more personal – sort of preciousness.

So she quit.

“I had no job and I was completely hopeless,” Luong admits.

And that’s why we love her.

With little idea what she wanted to do with her life, she ‘spent several weeks looking – and feeling – that the world was just this repetitious mechanical place.’ Suddenly burnt out with interesting (yet somehow unfulfilling) jobs in catering and photography, she knew she needed to find herself… somewhere very far away.

Born in Ho Chi Minh City, this meant venturing to her homeland, Vietnam. She would stay in Vietnam as long as it took her to ‘figure out what in the world [she] was supposed to be doing here on this earth.’ She followed that trip with a jaunt to Thailand. It was during her stay in September 2007 that she was blown away with the unique handcrafted things from the mountainous tribal regions of Vietnam, home of the H’mong. She also discovered antique tribal items from the Kuchi tribes of India and, in love with their unique beauty, Luong did what any passionate collector begins to do. She collected. Bringing countless pieces home, she then photographed and admired them.

She also kept in touch with the local dealers.

More importantly, “It was an incredible one and a half months of travel and solitude,” Luong reveals. “Being by myself and just seeing how much of an ant I am in this place called earth was eye-opening.”

Fast forward to 2008.

Back in the US, she gathered her fascinating tribal pieces, did extensive research on the tribal jewelry market and voila!

Tribal Matters was born.

Subsequently, she found herself.
Just what every soul-searching jaunt is meant to do.

Pieces are made with 925 silver, brass, or white metal. Each carry the unique handcrafted exoticism captured by the complex indigenous tribes of the always tantalizing East.

For both stylish men and world-wise women, prices range from a very reasonable $15-$250.

A Flair Necessity: Organic Accessories

Necklaces of Cardamom and Lupine?

When we say travel light, this is exactly what we mean. Reclaimed natural elements incorporated into a beautifully designed set piece. Jenny Nelson first caught our attention when we saw her interesting work and learned a bit about her life… chock full of equally inspiring experiences. Raised on the coast of Maine, inland from the mystical sounding ‘Mount Desert Island’ (where she currently resides), Nelson was completely surrounded by wild gardens, colorful flowers, and just the sort of woods filled with creatures who sing and buzz.

This idyllic childhood was the perfect setting for outdoor adventures… hiking and kayaking all around her forests, islands and little trees. With a passionate love of nature and words, she went on to study at a prestigious Creative Writing program straight out of high school (because they have such things in those magical Northern lands). In the years that followed, she lived ‘beautifully and randomly, hauling her snowboard around the Alps, teaching skiing and snowboarding, working at small and incredibly fun bakeries, poetry cooperatives, organic farming…’ until she happened upon a very well known jeweler in Northeast Harbor who soon became her mentor. She’s been a full time bench jeweler for her for the past five years, as Nelson says, ‘learning from someone who is a master at what they do.’

Talk about your regular, run-of-the-mill, renaissance Jauntophile.

“Inspired by a childhood spent in gardens and antique shops…’ she beautifully writes, ‘Embarking on countless adventures in the outside world, full of seedlings resting in organic soil, freshly cut wood, and salty ocean wanderings,’ she carries those scented memories into her hand-crafted line.
The only impact her work leaves on the environment? Beauty and substance. Working only with organic materials, found objects, salvaged metals and conflict-free stones, adorning yourself – whether jaunting to the kitchen or the Kasbah – has never felt, or looked, so damn cool. What’s more? You won’t show up to the same party with the same necklace as someone else. She customizes her pieces and each one is unique.

Just like you.

Now buzz off and get some work done already.
Don’t worry, you can come back later.

Pieces range from $65-$325.

Tell her Jaunt Magazine sent you.