Giving the gift of local bling

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All the ladies out there are going to be looking for some sparkle this gift-giving season — and I’m not talking about the lights on the Christmas tree. It’s the season for bling, but that doesn’t always mean you have to crack open those piggy banks to give a little. Whether you are looking for something traditional or want to go down a more unique road, there are plenty of local options for you to explore. And, really, who doesn’t want to support smaller, local businesses while pleasing the women on their Christmas list? It’s a win-win situation.

If you are looking for the more traditional route and money isn’t so much an object, there are a number of Charlotte-based jewelry stores that offer high quality, fine jewelry, and even at reasonable prices.  Brownlee Jewelers (www.brownleejewelers.com) have been serving the Charlotte area since 1936 and they have locations dotted all around the city, making them accessible for pretty much anyone.

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They carry an extensive variety of diamond and luxury jewelry, as well as designer and vintage pieces as well. They literally have something to please everyone. Even if you manage to not find something that completely tickles your fancy, they offer the ability to create a custom ring so you can make sure that you’re getting exactly what you envision. They even have handy gift guides and diamond education available via their website, just in case you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and undereducated. While you’re checking them out, make sure to check out the contest they are running right now for a diamond solitaire ring that retails at $5,000, so at least you could try your luck! Other Charlotte-based stores that offer high end jewelry are The Karat Patch (www.karatpatch.com) and David’s LTD (www.davidsltd.com).

Want to maybe spice it up a bit and go for something with a little edge, but still has that traditional feel to it? Donald Haack (www.donaldhaack.com) offers up phenomenal fine jewelry that serves up a little kick in its unique designs and materials. Not a diamond girl? Go for the rutillated quartz ring or silver and gold cuff. Whether her look is old Hollywood starlet or luxurious warrior woman, Donald Haack has something to fit her style. From chunky and bold to simple and sleek, they have plenty to offer.

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Staying in the same vein, but going a little more artisan, you can turn to local goldsmith Katie Stein and her company Vaka Designs (www.vakadesign.bigcartel.com) which offers up beautiful hand-forged jewelry at very affordable prices. The warmth that radiates from these handmade pieces will definitely be felt by anyone receiving them.

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Another Charlottean who offers gorgeous handmade jewelry is Rachel Taliaferro (www.rtartjewelry.com). Her art jewelry is definitely out to make a statement, and probably not for your mother-in-law, unless your mother-in-law identifies with Xena as a style icon. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely for anyone that looks for that pow in her accessories, Taliaferro’s intricate and raw pieces are sure to become a staple for anyone wanting to jazz up their LBD.

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Last, but certainly not least, the NoDa All Arts Market is the one-stop-shop that you absolutely cannot pass up. Ground Zero for all things affordable in Charlotte artisan jewelry, you’ll also find tons of other homemade goodies to stuff those stockings. Among some of the vendors you’ll find are Products of 47 (www.productsof47.com) which offer beautiful beaded items, intricately cut pieces (such as the photo on the left), and even floral décor for your home, and JunkPie (www.junkpie.com) for the more kitschy chick in your life (see photo on the right). Those are only a couple of the dozens of people peddling their wares at this one-of-a-kind craft fair that will be taking place Dec. 15-17, so make sure you stop in at the Neighborhood Theatre to get all of your Christmas shopping done. You’ll find everything from original artwork to polymer clay poop earrings, so no one is left out.

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From one end of the spectrum to the other, Charlotte has plenty to offer this holiday season. Now it is up to you to check your list, decide who’s been naughty, who’s been nice, and put some money in the hands of your fellow Charlotte residents to ensure that everyone has a happy holiday.


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