This is the third post in my new feature – SEVEN QUESTIONS. The concept is very simple. Basically, I ask jewelry stores or jewelry designers the same seven questions. You all know how much I love jewelry….. this just lets me talk to other people who love jewelry, too! Hopefully you, fellow gem gal, will discover a cool new store to visit or an amazing new designer that you’d like to check out!
Check out my earlier posts featuring #sevenquestions with Isadoras Antique Jewelry and Venue Ballard.
But today let’s talk about Twist, in Seattle. Twist had been recommended to me by a bunch of friends of mine in Portland, where there’s another Twist store. Twist features only designer jewelry, made by incredibly talented people. Nothing is mass produced. Everything is beautiful and unique. I was so happy to discover they carried some of my own favorite designers, like Alison Lou and her whimsical rings, Mark Davis and his upcycled Bakelite, and Silvia Furmanovich’s nature inspired pieces. But…. and here’s the important thing….. there were so many more!!! I try to keep up on new jewelry designers, and this store had plenty of beautiful pieces from people I had never heard of, and I loved every minute of it!
<img class=" wp-image-7493 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-08-08-18.59.16-e1570134307718.jpg" alt="Mark Davis jewelry display" width="500" height="667" /> A display featuring Bakelite pieces from Mark Davis
For the interview, I talked to Cullen Tavelli, one of the partners and manager of their Seattle location.
What’s unique about Twist?
1. What do you think is unique about your store? What kind of customer do you appeal to?
We sell only artisan and designer jewelry. That’s our entire focus. Here in this store, we have the work of over 100 jewelry designers represented. Most jewelry designers have to sell their pieces on consignment to stores. When the piece sells, they get paid. We do it differently. We buy pieces outright from the designers. No one else is doing that.
And you know, we don’t advertise. We have a broad reach of really diverse clients.
<img class=" wp-image-7506 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-08-08-18.55.28-1.jpg" alt="Moonstone heart ring by Brent Neale" width="500" height="500" /> Moonstone heart ring by Brent Neale
2. What do you enjoy most about being part of the jewelry industry?
For us, finding and supporting designers and artists. It’s a very, very small segment of the jewelry market.
<img class=" wp-image-7498 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bro-rbte_1_brooke_gregson_gold_tanzanite_emerald_blossom_ring_512x512.jpg" alt="Tanzanite flower ring from Brooke Gregson" width="500" height="409" srcset="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bro-rbte_1_brooke_gregson_gold_tanzanite_emerald_blossom_ring_512x512.jpg 500w, https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/bro-rbte_1_brooke_gregson_gold_tanzanite_emerald_blossom_ring_512x512-480x393.jpg 480w" sizes="(min-width: 0px) and (max-width: 480px) 480px, (min-width: 481px) 500px, 100vw" /> Tanzanite flower ring from Brooke Gregson
3. When people find out where you work or what you do, what’s their most common question to you?
People want to know what the difference is in designer jewelry. Is it like things you see at a Farmer’s Market? So we try to educate them that jewelry designers use precious metals and gemstones, and put lots of time into each piece. That’s why it’s so valuable.
A new location
4. How long have you done this and what kind of training did you need?
My background is in sales. I was a stockist at Nordstroms. Then I went to business school at Gonzaga. I’ve been with Twist for 12 years.
<img class=" wp-image-7509 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-08-08-19.04.31-e1570177324921.jpg" alt="rings" width="375" height="500" /> Pretty rings
5. What’s the biggest business challenge you face right now?
We’re in a new space. We’ve been here for a year. University Village has been really welcoming to us. Our old location was downtown, we had been there for 18 years. Our current space used to be Tiffany’s, so sometimes people do come in expecting a jewelry store, but then it’s us and not Tiffany’s.
We’re excited about our new space and developing new clients. We want to create unique experiences, going beyond trunk shows.
What sells at Twist?
6. What’s your top seller? Why do you think it resonates with people?
Certain designers have a real following. Cathy Waterman is incredibly popular. So are Jamie Joseph, Polly Wales, Pat Flynn, Judy Gieb.
We sell a lot in the $1,000 to $5,000 range.
<img class=" wp-image-7500 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/gei-mm1d_1_judy_geib_gold_silver_opal_aquamarine_earrings_512x512.jpg" alt="Opal earrings from Judy Geib" width="500" height="409" srcset="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/gei-mm1d_1_judy_geib_gold_silver_opal_aquamarine_earrings_512x512.jpg 500w, https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/gei-mm1d_1_judy_geib_gold_silver_opal_aquamarine_earrings_512x512-480x393.jpg 480w" sizes="(min-width: 0px) and (max-width: 480px) 480px, (min-width: 481px) 500px, 100vw" /> Opal earrings from Judy Geib
7. What’s your current favorite piece of jewelry?
At this question, Cullen took me over to take a look at the work by Seven Bickari. He’s a designer from Istanbul. And truly, his designs were like nothing I had even seen. The detail, the craftsmanship, the color! Wow…..
<img class=" wp-image-7491 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-08-08-18.58.14.jpg" alt="Sevan Bicakci Butterfly Pendant" width="509" height="509" /> This absolutely exquisite Sevan Bicakci micromosiac butterfly pendant in lapis and turquoise
My own view on Twist
Since I don’t live too far from Seattle, I go shopping there pretty frequently, and I love the University Village. Now that I know Twist is there, I can tell you that I will be coming in every chance I get! The store was beautiful, inviting, and colorful, and the jewelry was divine. I could have spent hours there, happily browsing.
<img class=" wp-image-7504 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-08-08-18.57.28-1.jpg" alt="Egg and snake pendant" width="501" height="501" /> This egg with the snake coming out caught my eye.
The store is a gem for Seattle. If you’re ever in town, go and visit!