Knowing I was going to write a post on Margaret Ellis and knowing I was going to hit New York City the same week, I decided to do some comparative shopping by looking at jewelers from E 56th Street to Soho, with a side trip to the Met to view the Egyptian antiquities jewelry on display there. What I confirmed is that Margaret Ellis is a world-class force to be reckoned with when it comes to originality, craftsmanship and price in the vast world of contemporary jewelry. She has made it in New York; the good news for us is that she chooses to make Nashville her home.
Before leaving for New York, I stopped by her studio in Cummins Stations to see her new designs for Spring. Margaret is so disarming. “Let’s sit and have a sparkling water,” she said, “and I have a real treat for us to try.” She whisked off to her office and produced a new bar of Oliver and Sinclair chocolates. Just what I needed! Actually, what I really needed was the gorgeous chunky 22 carat gold necklace in the case next to me. Margaret exudes a certain calmness and confidence which adds to her allure as a jeweler. She genuinely wants you to buy something you love and if you don’t find it, then come back another day.
If you have never been to her studio, I encourage you to go. Located in Cummins Station, one of Nashville’s hubs for entrepreneurs, her studio feels like her living room – a perfectly relaxed setting for the cases of her gorgeous jewels and the work tables of her staff, who clearly love what they do. Margaret is the first to say her staff is the reason for her success. All are talented artisans in their own right; they assist in the creation and implementation of her designs.
Margaret Ellis, in my humble opinion, is the grand dame of jewelers in Nashville. Her decision to sell only from her studio and not through retailers in Nashville, is testimony to her desire to know her customers well. While I am not one of her big customers, I am a dedicated one. My first introduction to her work was at an Artists for Oasis event many years ago; I have been a devotee ever since. I talked both my father and brother into purchasing pieces from her collection for their wives. My father, who is a notorious last-minute shopper, chose a pair of lovely amethyst earrings for my Mother to celebrate their 40th anniversary. My brother’s wife, Jamie, now faithfully goes to Margaret’s trunk show at Joseph’s in Memphis.
Margaret’s jewelry is thoughtfully crafted to stand the test of time. If you collect her work, a piece from the 80’s pairs nicely with a newer piece from 2010. A simple series of silver bangles looks magical when embellished with a new bracelet from her current platinum and pearl collection. From black-tie to boots and jeans, her jewelry is timeless and inspiring.
Margaret continually searches for ways to cut costs by finding similar materials at a lower price point. Her new line of coral and turquoise jewelry called “Happy Colors” is a great example of her search to offer high quality at a variety of prices to her customers.
I am also a huge fan of her print ads. Her campaign using real people wearing her designs, and now, her series called “Icons and Muses: A Spark of Imagination,” are part of her creative genius. By associating her product with notable Nashvillians, her jewelry becomes relevant and approachable to us all. Isn’t it fun knowing we have a Lauren Bacall look-a-like in Nashville? Kay West has heard it for years; why not put it in print?
Liza and I plan to ask Margaret to feature us in her ads once we earn a sketch in the Wall Street Journal as two of the country’s hardest working bloggers who somehow become impressive entrepreneurs through the whole thing…..hmmmmm……dreams……
Back to reality! Margaret Ellis is making a special offer to benefit victims of the Nashville Flood. She will donate 10% of her sales during the ENTIRE months of May and June to the Community Foundation Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund. If you buy a $500 bracelet, $50 will go to help a victim of the floods. Both studio and online sales are included.
To kick off this program, Margaret Ellis will host a Studio Benefit Show on Wednesday, May 26th from noon to 7PM (refreshments served from 5PM-7PM) and Thursday, May 27th from 10AM-4PM.
Additionally, if you want to stop by her studio today (Friday ,May 14th) or Monday, May 17th, she has a special $50 gift certificate for StyleBlueprint readers. No need to print anything out, just tell her you read about it here. This does not include online sales.
I know it’s fun to go to Atlanta or New York to shop, but consider how important it is to support local businesses. How many local jewelers do you know who have been featured in The Devil Wears Prada and Sex and the City?
Margaret Ellis truly is Nashville’s crown jewel.