• October 6, 2022

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Sometimes home is where the jewelry is. Sisters Jennifer Gandia and Christina Gandia Gambale have found another downtown location for their family’s jewelry store, Greenwich Street Jewelers, to call home. The business, founded by their parents Carl and Milly in 1976 on its namesake street, has relocated to a 1,550 square foot location on Reade Street after spending the last twenty years on Trinity Place.

Located in the second cast-iron building constructed in New York known as Obsidian House and dating to 1857, the airy space draws upon original details to create a fresh, modern environment. Working with Maori Hughes of MAOarch, the original exposed brick walls and an archway are fused with contemporary walls and lighting, resulting in a backlit architectural detail lining the space. The arch design also creates three distinct sections of the store. Behind one newly constructed arch are a try-on table and a door leading to a private Bridal salon appointment room. According to Gandia, despite a healthy digital presence, most engagement rings are sold in person.

“We wanted to blend the old and the new to make it feel like entering an apartment,” said Jennifer, the eldest Gandia, noting the reclaimed wood floors and a modern art light sculpture sourced from a local artist. The walls also feature local art talents Rosalie Knox and Mason Nye discovered in the area, which now has a lot of gallery spaces.

The decision to move from Trinity Place was spurred by a lease renewal and fluctuations in the area since 9/11. “My parents, who witnessed the attacks that day, had to move as there was damage to the building. Trinity Place was a good opportunity as it was three times the size,” remembers Gandia.

At that time, Jennifer had taken a sabbatical from her position doing press for NARS
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S cosmetics to help her parents get started again (the business was shut for ten months after 9/11). “It was at the time when independent jewelers were coming onto the scene, and jewelry became cool and a fashion statement,” she recalls adding how receptive her parents were to the new ideas she brought to their business. “They were open to taking on new brands when people were looking just to survive,” she said.

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Once the 9/11-induced downtown ghost town ended almost five years later, things rebounded until Hurricane Sandy and Covid. “The pandemic eroded the area’s momentum, which struggled with foot traffic due to lack of nearby retail besides the Oculus. Things are closing there too,” she noted.

The business has a strong downtown DNA the offspring wanted to preserve, so Tribe
TRIBE2
ca was a natural choice. “We have a service business, and this was a community where we could offer that service. We have two master jewelers on staff, and we do custom work, antique restoration, restyling, and repair. That was the start of my parent’s business,” said Gandia. Coincidentally during their search, they discovered the area between Reade and Chambers was once home to a small silversmith and metalsmithing district in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Upon entering, clients find a tightly curated selection of pieces by brands such as Melissa Joy Manning, Eva Fehren, Alice Ciccolini, Marla Aaron, Single Stone, Sylva & Cie, Tenthousandthings, Lorraine Wesr and Wwake. A display of bold, colorful stone rings by Jamie Joseph sits at the entry of the store, tempting try-ons like a candy bowl of jewelry.

The sisters have also launched several in-house lines such as Chroma featuring rainbow-colored stone combinations, Astra, the diamond and enamel pendants resembling pocket watches, and some on-trend beaded necklaces and bracelets.

Bridal was and continues to be a big business for the store, with about 70 percent of the bridal styles coming from the in-house brand. For fashion fine jewelry, 25 percent is the in-house brand, and the other 75 percent is independent brands generally that are female or BIPOC-owned.

Most pieces at Greenwich Street Jewelers are made from recycled gold, whether by design or circumstance, essentially becoming the industry standard in the wake of sustainability concerns. “Most major casting houses use it now; it’s like the decision was made for you because they use it,” she said.

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