Mednikow is a fine jewelry mecca. Located inside Levy’s Clothiers, you’ll find glass cases of luxurious accessories that glitter and shine. Additionally, you’ll find a team of salespeople who are passionate about what they carry and knowledgeable about each piece and line. Today, we are chatting with the Mednikow Nashville team — one that it is stylish and sophisticated — about their current favorite pieces of jewelry at Mednikow and what it’s like to work there. Whether you’re making a wish list or just window-shopping, you’ll want to see what they chose!
Darlene Dutton worked for 18 years in fine jewelry at Jamie, before its closure in July. Her years of experience there have made the transition to Mednikow seamless. “When Debbie Taylor and I learned that Jamie was closing, we were saddened because we had both been there about 18 years. And, the people we worked with were like family. So we miss that, but we were really excited and fortunate when we got a call from Cindy to talk to us about coming to work here, once again, with fine jewelry. It was an easy transition.”
Darlene quickly led us to a simply stunning gold link necklace by Gurhan, a Turkish designer based in New York City. She tells us, “He revived an ancient art of using pure 24k gold.” A metal that can be too soft for jewelry, his method makes this show-stopping material wearable. And it certainly makes a statement. Darlene shows us the richness of 24k gold: “When you hold it up to 14 or 18k gold, a novice can tell the difference.” Holding the piece in your hands illustrates the quality of the necklace. Its weight is significant, as the links are not hollow but solid 24k gold.
“What I love about it is that it’s timeless and classic — something you will hand down for generations. The color and the weight of the pure gold are just not rivaled by anything else. My grandchildren, and eventually great-grandchildren, would love this forever.”
Elizabeth works in sales at Mednikow and is especially grateful for the stellar team and environment. “The people I work with are amazing. I tell my friends that my two best friends in Nashville are Debbie and Cindy. And, what female doesn’t love to try on jewelry?”
Known for their diamonds, Elizabeth immediately gravitates to Mednikow’s own expansive collection when asked about her favorite line in the store. The sparkly cocktail ring she selected is a statement-maker, to say the least. Adorned with rose-cut diamonds, it appears to be a stack of many rings but is actually just one single ring. Rose-cut diamonds have a flat back and faceted top. They were especially common in the early 1800s, and now people are bringing them back.
Elizabeth tells us, “The jewelry that we have here is artwork. It’s very creative. Different pieces you won’t see other places. So, you’re able to pick something that speaks to your personality.” She laughingly continues, “But then, we also have diamonds.”
Debbie Taylor also worked for many years in fine jewelry at Jamie before bringing her experience to Mednikow. “When that door closed for us, this one opened. We had worked at Jamie, a family-owned business, and that’s what I wanted again. We have already made a connection with each other here. It has already turned into a family.”
Her favorite line of jewelry in the store right now is by Nan Fusco, a designer based in Laguna Beach, CA. “It’s edgy jewelry,” Debbie tells us. Nan’s signature is a little bit of fringe. She loves the movement it brings and that it catches light. She also uses a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces – for example, a 4.5 million-year-old sand-dollar necklace they have in the store now.
Debbie shows us the piece that currently has her eye. A versatile necklace with a cloud magnesite pendant and rose-cut and pave bezel diamonds, this accessory is fit for a cocktail party or a t-shirt and jeans — a quality that the team at Mednikow loves. “I double-wrapped this necklace to bring it up higher, which brings color and softness to the face. Or I can lengthen and wear it long depending on the neckline.”
Her knowledge and experience and passion for fine jewelry made Mednikow an easy choice, but she has been delighted to find more than just a job there. “Already, we’ve really connected in the months we have been open, and I feel like I’ve walked back into a family again.”
Julie worked for 13 years buying, selling and in public relations at Mednikow. She moved to Hawaii for a few years and returned this year to be back with family. Today, she serves as the Director of Merchandising for Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta. “As a family company, with kids and families of their own, Mednikow is very responsive to not just me but to everyone who has family or different schedules – we have the advantage of flexibility that you don’t necessarily get from a bigger company.”
Currently, Julie is excited about Debra Navarro, a jewelry designer who has been in the industry for 18 years. She notes that Debra uses recycled gold in her designs, as well as natural diamonds. Julie shows us a beautiful pair of hoop earrings by Debra and explains the unique design. “These are natural diamonds. All natural-colored diamonds. They’re actually a little bit elongated, which is a nice complement to your face shape. Beyond that, they also have a slight curve so that you can see the entire piece itself. These are designed not to have to move or flip or turn to see it all.”
It’s the little details, like the curve and shapes of the diamonds, that set these earrings apart for Julie. Additionally, knowing the designer and having that connection – Debra was unpacking her jewels in the shop for a trunk show in the midst of the interview – adds a touch of personality that is unique to the family-run business that is Mednikow.
Terry Cochran is Mednikow’s in-house jeweler and goldsmith. A certified gemologist with the American Gem Society, he’s also the sole male working in Nashville and has been working with them since their initial arrival in Music City.
He tells us, “I love all the jewelry. I’ve been doing it for almost 30 years. I don’t have any one favorite — my favorite is the piece I’m working on,” which, of course, includes many of the custom pieces Mednikow offers.
“If I have to select a piece, the knives. I love that they are hand-crafted. The workmanship is amazing. They are tools, but they are works of art. They are made to be used daily. They are beautiful.” The William Henry knives are rare and luxurious, with each knife taking around two years to create. The knives are numbered, and the series are limited. The largest series goes up to 500, while many are “one of ones.” The particular knife he chose, the Monarch, is number 91 of 100, Terry tells us.
Terry’s passion for the craftsmanship is evident in our conversation. And his heart for the art that is jewelry design is evident in his creations found at Mednikow.
Cindy serves as the store manager at Mednikow Nashville. Currently, her favorite piece of jewelry is a stunning oxidized silver cuff by local designer Laurie Kaiser. Cindy tells us, “I like a funky statement — nothing too serious. You look at this piece and say ‘wow!’ because the quality and materials are obviously extremely high-end. But whether I had on jeans or a cocktail dress, this would work. I like comfortable jewelry, which is ‘me.’ I want to be comfortable — even when going to a cocktail party.”
Laurie Kaiser, the designer, is based in Brentwood. Talented and bubbly, Laurie’s passion, Cindy explains, is evident in both the finished pieces, as well as chatting with her about her work. Mednikow is excited to be the exclusive carrier of her jewelry here in Nashville as well as the state of Tennessee. Be on the lookout for a Laurie Kaiser trunk show coming soon!
“We have a very focused, curated selection of jewelry unlike a lot of other jewelers in town. We’re not trying to be everything to everybody.”
You can find these pieces and more at Mednikow, located inside Levy’s Clothiers, at 3900 Hillsboro Pike #36, Nashville, TN 37215. For hours and to learn more, visit mednikow.com.
This article is sponsored by Mednikow. Thank you to Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography for the beautiful photos.