It’s hard to admit, but times are tough. This recession, as much as we want to believe is in its departure, has ensconced much of our time and finances. That’s why, especially with the impending holiday season, it’s so crucial to shop local. Keep your dollar in your own neighborhood – you just may wind up finding a brilliant, one-of-a-kind treasure. The best part is that instead of dumping your money into a CEO’s yacht, you’re helping a little girl get to dance class. Bearing that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best places for handmade jewelry in the greater Pittsburgh area that are unique, stylish, affordable and – yup, you guessed it, all local.
If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind upcycled jewelry and accessories, you’ve come to the right place. Consider taking a peek at Bel Monili’s selections on Etsy for all of your gift-giving purposes: this talented artist can take any random, single piece of jewelry and breathe new life into it. Bel Monili features her pieces primarily online, but she can also be found at various vendor events throughout the greater Pittsburgh area and surrounding towns if you like to see and feel your purchases. Check out her Facebook page for upcoming trade show appearances, or visit her fabulous Etsy page.
William Penn Jewelers
1837 Murray Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Take a sketch, any sketch (we’re wagering even a rendering by your 5-year-old!) and William Penn Jewelers will handcraft your design into reality. Custom, unique, unlike anything on the market, WPJ can create virtually anything your hand can dream up. Family owned since 1979, this Pittsburgh institution is a dreamer’s reality! Visit their website for more information, or call to get started on your custom piece.
Ruth Ann Jewelry
This private artist found her love of jewelry making from taking a class at her local craft store, and fast forward 5 years, she’s made quite a name for herself in the Pittsburgh area. Customers may choose from her gorgeous (and truly affordable!) collections, or contact her about a custom piece. Perfect for yourself or gift-giving this upcoming holiday season, Ruth Ann Jewelry is the precise vendor to satisfy all of your jewelry yearnings, and a great way to keep your dollar local! Ruth Ann can be can be contacted by phone or you may follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
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Paul Michael Jewelry
732 Filbert St.
Shadyside, PA 15232
This incredibly talented artist only looks to “share your vision; not impose his upon you.” Specializing in bridal jewelry, this Shadyside staple is a must-stop if you’re around Walnut. Most impressively, Paul Michael Jewelry will even hand make your piece using the incredibly cool interactive website custommade.com, which is a heck of a lot more convenient if you’re short on time but full of ideas. Shop services are also available, such as repairs and cleaning – look to PMJ for all of your custom creations!
We can’t have a Pittsburgh ‘best of’ list without some world-class Pittsburgh kitsch. Check out this crazy cool designer’s website and yinz ‘yer heart out with her Steel City-inspired pieces. From ‘Bucs necklaces, to pendants of the city skyline and town-emblazoned belt buckles, a Pittsburgh aficionado simply cannot go wrong with Jewelry N’at. The best part is that Sharon, the designer, has her MFA in Metal Design and teaches classes and workshops on top of making totally unique and inspired accessories. Visit Jewelry ‘n At’s website, email Sharon or follow her on Facebook or Twitter for upcoming class info or photos of her latest pieces.
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Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn’t studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she’s out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.