When Marine's grandmother passed, her parents brought her jewelry box back to California from France. One evening as we were gathered around the dining table, we began sorting through it. Each piece sparked a story about her life. It painted a beautiful portrait of who Denise was, and I couldn't help but be inspired.
Denise Levy Schmitt
Denise was born in the Alsace region of France in 1924 on what would become Marine and my wedding anniversary, 92 years later. During WW2, she became a messenger in the resistance against the Nazis by hiding information inside the handlebar of her bicycle. When her family fled their home, her jewelry was compact enough to be transported and was a way to harbor a small bit of financial security in an unstable time. Her surviving family members describe her as courageous, strong willed and daring.
The Alsace Collection is inspired by the classic jewelry Denise collected throughout the years, but updated for this generation. It includes Moissanite and lab grown diamonds set in solid gold, and demi-fine pieces. All demi-fine pieces in this collection are vermeil, which requires a thicker layer of 14K gold. As always, we use sterling silver as our base.
This collection also marks the very first introduction of commitment jewelry available for purchase in our store. The Éternelle ring contains a marquise cut stone with two round side stones in the wearers choice of natural diamond or Moissanite. The three stones represent the past, the present and the future, with the largest of the three being the present. It is a reminder to remain in the moment while still acknowledging the past that brought us here, and the future we're striving for. It is an ideal gift for the one you love most- including oneself.
In order to honor her history, we used pieces from Denise's personal collection in our flat lay images, and Denise's youngest granddaughter (my sister in law), Natacha was our model. We shot the collection at a local restaurant and bar, Barrel and Board. It was especially meaningful to shoot at this location because it's another San Diego, LGBT owned small business. The ambiance at the restaurant included glistening chandeliers, antique statues and even French poetry inscribed on the walls. Something tells me Denise would have loved it.