Please join me in wishing a happy 40th anniversary to one of my very favorite family owned jewelry stores, Hunt Country Jewelers!
Why Hunt Country’s 40th matters to you:
- They’re delightful and it’s heartwarming.
- They’re celebrating by having an ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE SALE of their gorgeous handmade jewelry.
What you’re seeing in the window is part of Carolyn of Hunt Country’s famous Halloween decorations: they’re always Harry Potter-inspired and a source of great local pride. (Carolyn and Logan are the second generation of Cutshalls to run the store, although founding couple Ed and Claire are still very involved, both in the business and production side.)
Seeing that Halloween window for myself is part of why I decided to drive an hour into Virginia’s picturesque wine country to take these pictures myself, even though I had just come home from Paris and Carolyn offered to save me the trip by sending me images.
The biggest reason, though? I love being there.
HCJ itself is a beautiful, open-hearted sanctuary of a place. Big, bright windows, elegant displays, and the nicest people you will ever meet.
Half of the customers who stopped by were greeted by name and the other half were treated just as warmly. It is everything that is wonderful about small businesses.
Part of what makes Hunt Country Jewelers so special is that they really do handle every aspect of their production themselves: they import their gemstones directly from a contact in South Africa, cut the gems in house, carve original designs from wax, and every other step up to and including the final polishing. (See one of their custom pieces come to life in video here.)
The image above shows Ed, half of the original founding Hunt Country couple, carving a large block of wax for a custom project in 1979. Hunt Country Jewelers still uses the same techniques as they did in the 1970’s – and in some cases, the exact same equipment.
Hunt Country’s designs have won multiple AGTA Spectrum Awards and placed in the International Pearl Competition; they’ve even patented a new gemstone cut.
Loudoun County, VA, is known for its wineries today, but it has historically been a center of the region’s fox hunting tradition. Hunt Country Jewelers offers a variety of fox-inspired pieces for those who may love the romance of fox hunting culture but don’t want to hunt anything alive.
This gorgeously crafted fox brooch is one of my favorites. There are also simpler (and very affordable) pieces that use the motif of the fox’s head as a pendant or stud earrings.
The best part about a jewelry store that’s owned by a family of gem-importing lapidaries is, of course, the gemstones. Even a modest piece of rough becomes extraordinary when it’s cut by someone with as much experience as the Cutshalls.
When you take those stunning stones and put them in Hunt Country’s signature settings, the airy but substantial goldwork elevates these individual parts into wholes that are truly exceptional.