Finding Beauty and Love in Last-Minute Gift Giving

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“Jewelry is the most irrational purchase ever, it’s emotional, and that’s what makes it beautiful at the same time!”

This observation from Anna Hollinger, co-owner of Symmetry Jewelers and Designers in the Riverbend, could actually sum up a lot of sentiments regarding holiday gift-giving. This time of year can be beautiful and peaceful; it can also be stressful and crazy.

For those who have put off their shopping until the very last minute, Symmetry is open Christmas Eve from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. And Hollinger reported that “we still have lots of pieces here, and we have new pieces coming in from different collections daily. Don’t stress, there’s still something here waiting to find you!”

Holidays aside, over the course of its 45 years in business, Symmetry has established itself as a relaxed, personal environment for finding your next treasure.

“We are a small, family-owned business,” Hollinger said, noting that one of the original founders is still a co-owner. “We try to make it very comfortable, not intimidating, to buy jewelry. It’s supposed to be a fun experience.

“We try to have something for everyone,” she added. “We’re more like a gallery than a regular jewelry store. Every case features a different designer. We like to have pieces here that you don’t see everywhere else.”

Designers represented in the store include local, national and even international artists. In that number are 22 jewelry-makers from Poland, the result of a relationship that goes back three decades. One of the store’s staff is originally from Poland; she brought a few pieces in on consignment, and things blossomed from there.

“Their work now occupies four-plus cases,” Hollinger said. “They are very reasonably priced, with interesting textures and very modern, sleek designs.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Symmetry typically has a wide variety of estate jewelry pieces on hand at any given time. This collection has actually increased during the pandemic.

“During COVID, everyone has been doing a lot of cleaning, and they find all these pieces that they just don’t wear any more,” Hollinger explained. “They bring them to us, set them down on the desk and tell us the whole story behind them before they even let us touch them.”

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While some people simply sell the pieces to Symmetry, others trade them in for items that match their current tastes. Hollinger noted that the store can offer more value when pieces are traded for credit against new items. And in some cases, Symmetry works with the customer to repurpose the original piece.

“It could be something old and sentimental, but something you no longer want to wear,” she said. “You can work with our designers to create something entirely new, using the same metal and stones.”

Custom designs comprise a significant portion of Symmetry’s overall business, as their artisans help create special engagement and wedding rings, birthday and anniversary gifts, bracelets, pendants and other heirloom pieces. “Custom design for any budget is really our specialty,” Hollinger stated.

The store offers full-service jewelry repairs, ring sizings and related services. This area of business also grew as people explored long-overlooked corners of their closets during the COVID restrictions.

“You just have to adapt to what people need,” noted Hollinger. “Initially in the pandemic, everything was slow, but we did have some people doing some shopping therapy online, especially people from other places who couldn’t get to New Orleans. Then around last Christmas, people decided to spend money on jewelry, and things have been fairly steady since then.”

Symmetry switched locations quite a few times in its early years, but has occupied its current space on Hampson Street since the early 1990s. The result is a comfortable, accommodating layout and a low-pressure environment. And if you are really looking for an excuse to visit, Hollinger recommended Symmetry’s Champagne Saturdays. Bubbly is served all day long, even for those who are simply browsing the gallery of artistic creations.

Whether it’s a last-minute gift for this Christmas or something custom-designed for a special occasion, Symmetry Jewelers works hard to make sure each customer finds what s/he needs. “There is emotion behind each piece people buy,” Hollinger observed. “Each piece represents something meaningful.”




Categories: Neighborhood Biz