It took about three minutes of chatting on the phone for me to realize that Tiina Smith was a kindred spirit.
My interest had already been piqued by her store’s website, with its beautiful photos, highlight on women makers, and intriguingly gorgeous curation; but when she told me that their boutique is set up like a parlor to encourage people to come in and learn, to touch the jewelry and understand why it was special, I knew I needed to write about her.
Tiina Smith: more than a jewelry store.
Tiina Smith specializes in noteworthy jewelry, primarily vintage signed pieces by master jewelers of the 20th and 21st centuries. After years of research and relationship-building as she built her own personal collection of jewelry, Smith began to feel that there was an open niche in the jewelry market that her unique knowledge could fill. Eventually she decided to turn personal passion into a second profession and founded her eponymous Boston store, Tiina Smith Vintage & Exceptional Jewelry.
A quick look at the Tiina Smith website will convince you that her approach is working like a charm. The collection is instantly impressive, filled with distinctive designs bursting with color and energy. In my initial scroll-though, I opened almost every listing to take a closer look.
Michele della Valle brooch from Tiina Smith
Much like yours truly, Tiina comes to jewelry from an unexpected background. Before jewelry, she worked on Wall Street. It wasn’t as strange a leap as you might expect. In the founder’s own words: “Working on Wall Street, I began to treat my jewelry collecting the way I handled my portfolios – with in-depth research, market insight and a solid understanding of value.”
Tiina prides herself in being a discerning, well-informed jewelry collector and she revels in helping her customers become as knowledgeable as she is. She wants jewelry lovers to truly understand what makes a particular piece noteworthy and valuable, what was happening in the world when it was made, what makes something a good investment rather than just a pretty object – and she wants them to know they can come to her to source the pieces they can’t find anywhere else.
Rings from Tiina Smith
Here are three extraordinary rings that caught my eye: an Art Deco platinum and diamond shield ring, a 16.77 fancy light brown diamond ring, and a very cool design from Danish modernist Hans Hansen. Each very different in style, these three rings share a distinctiveness that is emblematic of Tiina’s collection.
In keeping with their founder’s belief in jewelry education, the Tiina Smith boutique frequently offers in-store events, from fun, casual evenings to art events to jewelry talks with speakers like Tom Heyman of Oscar Heyman, jewelry historian Ruth Peltason, and Jewelry Curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Emily Stoehrer.
Bulgari earrings from Tiina Smith
But don’t despair, my non-Bostonian jewelry lovers! The store’s website has a wealth of gorgeously-illustrated jewelry education that you can fully enjoy from anywhere.
Check out the Meet the Maker section to learn more about exceptional designers or read through Tiina’s Takes for the founder’s in-depth thoughts on any number of different jewelry topics. The store also occasionally travels for events in other cities, bringing parts of their extraordinary collection on the road.
David Webb bracelet from Tiina Smith
If you’re a longtime DitL reader, I don’t think I need to explain to you how enthusiastically I agree with the idea of encouraging jewelry education. Jewelry education is good for all of us – knowledgeable collectors know what they want and can make buying decisions with confidence. The more you understand something, the more you can truly appreciate it!
In addition to their gorgeous jewelry collection, education opportunities, and events, Tiina Smith also offers a variety of jewelry-related services that allow collectors to benefit from her expertise, including jewelry styling, appraisal, and more. She also acquires estates and individual pieces from collectors wishing to make room for new things in their jewelry boxes.
Manuel Santelices illustration featuring a Belperron necklace from Tiina Smith
Tiina Smith also uses her boutique as a jumping off point to explore the intersection of jewelry with other forms of art. In a recent collaboration with Fashion Illustrator Manuel Santelices, Tiina Smith commissioned the artist to create “A Year In Jewels,” a series of 12 original artworks featuring jewelry from the Tiina Smith collection.
On November 2nd, Tiina Smith and Manuel Santelices are taking their joint project to NYC for a day of art and jewelry featuring some very special activities for the guests who attend! The illustrations are utterly gorgeous (see above) and I’m sure the event will be fascinating.
Marina B cuff bracelet from Tiina Smith
Tiina Smith’s next jewelry education event is coming up on October 20-21! The guest speaker will be Creative Director of Marina B, Guy Bedarida.
Marina B was founded by Marina Bulgari, and yes – those Bulgaris. Marina’s grandfather founded Bulgari, but family infighting among the next generation led Marina to strike out on her own instead. The result was Marina B, a wildly popular brand known for its boldness, versatility, and distinctive gemstone cuts.
If you’re in Boston, go check out the October 20-21 event at Tiina Smith to learn more and also see extraordinary Marina B pieces from the 1970s and 1980s along with their original jewelry renderings.
Oscar Heyman earrings from Tiina Smith
My goodness, I’ve thrown a lot at you here, haven’t I? But I didn’t want to leave anything out! The extraordinary jewelry, the founder’s Wall Street background, the educational events, the art connection, and did I mention the jewelry?? It’s each a part of what makes Tiina Smith so exciting as a whole.
What do you think, my dears? Do you plan to try to catch one of Tiina Smith’s upcoming events or stop by her store the next time you’re in Boston? I definitely hope to visit IRL someday.
Vintage car brooches from Tiina Smith
For now, don’t forget to visit Tiina Smith’s website and Instagram account to see more, and if you’re in Boston or NYC, don’t forget to check out the upcoming Tiina Smith Marina B event (Boston, Oct 20/21) and Manuel Santelices illustration event (NYC, November 2).
This sponsored post is brought to you by Tiina Smith.