Jill Alberts has an eye for beautiful things.
Now, with this week’s opening of her new eponymous boutique at 311 Park Avenue in Glencoe, she will be able to showcase her own beautiful jewelry collection along with a curated selection of pieces from other talented jewelry designers.
“Moving the store to Glencoe where I live is a natural expansion of my brand and what I do,”says Alberts. “This was not only a practical move but also an evolution of the concept.”
That evolution will include a selection of accessories and home décor items including candles, one-of-a-kind gifts (like geodes and handbags), and other unique pieces. Alberts is also excited about expanding the custom design and estate jewelry elements of Jill Alberts Jewelry. Alberts offers custom designed engagement and wedding bands.
Beautiful things displayed in a beautiful space that Alberts designed with the help of Sky Bench, a retail experience design consultancy. The aesthetics of the new boutique will reflect Alberts’ own personal style, with inspiration from the Hollywood Regency and Mid-Century Modern genres.
“The space is welcoming and unpretentious but also clean and elegant,” Alberts says. Rich wooden floors, gorgeous chandelier lighting, and custom brass fixtures set the scene for a bespoke shopping experience.
Alberts opened her first studio space in Ravinia in 2008, mostly to show and sell her own collection of handcrafted jewelry. Over time, that boutique evolved to feature the work of designers handpicked by Alberts.
“In 2014, I decided to bring in other collections of jewelry that weren’t just my own,” Alberts says. “I love to create, but it’s really fun to curate other peoples’ designs and products.”
The timing of that expansion coincided with a significant birthday for Alberts, who also saw her youngest child off to college.
Five years later, it was time for the ambitious jewelry aficionado to think—and to go—bigger with the move to the new Glencoe boutique.
She credits husband Henry Givray, whom she married recently, for encouraging her to follow her passion and embark on the expansion of her brand and space. “Henry is a former CEO who runs the most incredible leadership learning forums for entrepreneurs, executives, or anyone who is a lifelong learner,” she says. “He has changed lives with his work.”
It seems he similarly inspired Alberts.
While Alberts does less of her own jewelry designing these days, she fits it in when she feels inspired—often starting with a stone.
“I’ll see a beautiful stone and it speaks to me, and then becomes a ring, or a necklace,” she says. “I’ve also been working more with opals and spring colored gemstones, like emeralds, turquoise, and pink sapphires. And always diamonds.”
As for the other jewelry designers that she personally discovers and invites to show at her boutique Alberts says that she is “old school” when it comes to finding them.
“I still make inspiration boards from the print magazines I often read,” she explains. “I’ve also become in touch with social media outlets, like Instagram. When I see jewelry I love, I go online and do my research. Emerging artists are much more available and accessible now.”
Alberts also works with showrooms and co-designers to keep on top of current trends and new collections to carry.
New jewelry designers at the Glencoe store include Elizabeth Cole, Mateo, Feathered Soul, Lauren K, Adina Reyter, and Scosch. Favorites such as Meira T, Tracey Tanner, and Zoe Chicco will offer updated styles and designs in the fresh space.
Alberts says she plans to devote more time and focus on custom designs in her new location, which includes repurposing jewelry that may be outdated but still hold sentimental value.
“Clients may want to wear an older piece in a modern new way,” she explains. “I might take a tennis bracelet and make it into several different cuffs, one for the mother and the others for her daughters, for example. A piece of sentimental jewelry can be repurposed into something current and very wearable.”
She is also expanding her collection of estate jewelry.
“I have relationships I’ve built over the years, and now people send me their collections to showcase in the store,” she explains. “I know what my clients like and I can call them and say, ‘I found this tortoise shell bracelet you’ll love, for example, or a Mid-Century modern ring.’”
Alberts will continue to work in conjunction with manufacturers that will create versions of jewelry she designs or selects and be sold under Alberts own private label. Some will be unique one-of-a-kind pieces. She works with manufacturers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and China. She will also spend time planning trunk shows and events in the store, which she hopes will become a vibrant gathering space for interesting and fun social occasions.
“We want to create reasons for people to get out,” she says. “We might do floral workshops and book-related events, feature vintage jewelry and one-of-a-kind jewelry designers, and host accessory designers.”
The possibilities are really wide open for Alberts, who is optimistic and excited about this new chapter in her life.
Men and anyone shopping for a gift are encouraged to frequent the shop, as well.
“Our clients are self-purchasers confident in their own choices, but many are shopping for unique and special gifts,” she says. “As for our male shoppers, we offer a personalized, non-intimidating experience. We strive to know the tastes and desires of the women in their lives.This allows us to provide ideas and advice to elicit the perfect gift-opening response.”
Alberts is busy putting the final touches on her new boutique, which hosted an opening reception this week and is ready for business in time for Mother’s Day.
“We have so many beautiful and unique collections,” she says. “And we’ll offer some very accessible price points.”
Jill Alberts Jewelry is located at 311 Park Avenue in Glencoe, Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or by appointment, jillalberts.com.