by Jeremy Jones
June has been a month of celebration for Delphine Gallery, marking 16 years in business on the Hill at 8435 Germantown Ave.
An enchanting, earth-rich chunk of rose quartz sits by the shop’s doorway, emanating its uplifting message of self-love and self-worth while surrounded by calming and purifying energy of jewelry bearing pearls, gemstones, druzy quartz, moonstone, amazonite, chalcedony and more – all considered to have inherent meaning and healing properties.
According to legend, wearing a gemstone during its correlating birth month heightens its healing powers.
Delphine co-owners Vickie Spangler and Debbie Weiner have studied with the masters in the field of gemstones and fine jewelry. They surround themselves with books by these masters who continue to ignite their passion for their work and fuel their knowledge, which has, no doubt, contributed to their long and successful run in Chestnut Hill.
A few years ago, Spangler and Weiner attended “jewelry camp” at the University of Maine, a five-day antique jewelry seminar taught by experts from around the world, including author and world renowned lecturer Gloria Lieberman, “Antiques Roadshow” jewelry appraiser, author and educator, Christie Romero and Bryn Mawr’s own Joseph Sataloff, whose stunning book on art nouveau jewelry is considered the definitive reference standard for antique and estate jewelers.
When the price of gold rose and continued to skyrocket in 2007 and 2008, Spangler, a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, and Weiner, an accredited GIA jewelry sales professional, adapted their unique inventory to suit the retail financial climate and trending styles by carrying more gemstones and silver.
“The younger generation prefers sterling,” said Weiner. “The older generation, too.”
An item that speaks to Weiner’s point is a hand-crafted sterling silver necklace by California designer Zina. This piece is elegant, but if you forget to take it off before playing tennis it will not look out of place. In fact, it will look sporty chic. Priced at $250, the chain is a woven wheat pattern with a front closure toggle clasp.
Another must-see (and easily a must-have) is the South Sea pearls cultivated and designed by Paspaley of Australia. These cultured pearls and accompanying gemstones are custom selected by Spangler and Weiner. The luster of the pearls and the quality of the turquoise, blue topaz and rainbow moonstone accents are show stopping. Pendants and earrings range from $350 to $475.
In addition to jewelry, Delphine carries glassware by Simon Pierce and Massachusetts glass artist Josh Simpson, whose magical Mega Planet paperweights are priced from $75 to $265.
Although they no longer buy or sell estate jewelry, Spangler and Weiner stand by their slogan: “Know what it’s worth before you sell it.”
“When people inherit jewelry and things they don’t want, they should know the true value before they do anything with it. Sometimes we are able to help,” said Spangler. “Recently a fellow came in with 10 shoe boxes full of his mom’s jewelry. He was planning to donate the jewelry to his church and needed an estimate of value. He didn’t realize that in those boxes of costume jewelry were diamonds and gold he wasn’t aware of.”
In these situations, Delphine provides estate jewelry evaluation services for a fee of $95 an hour. “It’s like an appraisal,” said Spangler, “but it’s a verbal evaluation of what you have.”
Over the years, Delphine Gallery has created a following of devoted, long-standing customers and welcomes the opportunity to serve new ones, like the young man who stopped in while I was visiting, to say: “My girlfriend loves her earrings. We’ll be getting an engagement ring.”
“The people that find us and come in here are just the best,” Weiner said. “They find us and it’s a match made in heaven. We work with each customer to find them the right piece, and that makes for joy, for the giver and the receiver.”
My picks (with an example of each gemstone’s suggested property): Sterling silver-hinged, hoop-huggy earrings with white topaz (helps manifest your intentions and desires) or blue topaz (the artist’s and writer’s stone, helps promote higher thinking and cognition), $100; a necklace with a classic Greek/Egyptian aura comprised of five faceted blue-green amazonites (helps you communicate truth with balance and integrity), accented with silver and gold-filled tassels, $165; a sterling and 14-carat gold ring with a faceted white sapphire created in an old-world style by a French/Israeli designer (brings wisdom and strength of spirit), $140.
Delphine will be serving lemonade and champagne on weekends in June, and also this month you are welcome to bring your rings in for cleaning and have the prongs checked at no charge.
“Sixteen years and we’re still loving it,” said Spangler. “Chestnut Hill, the people of Chestnut Hill and the surrounding area – we look forward to seeing everyone when they come in. Our customers become our extended family.”
Happy anniversary, Delphine Gallery.