Jewelry & Jems: Oklahoma Style
Silver Leaf Gems in downtown Edmond has become a go-to store for unique, but affordable, costume jewelry. No need to wait for department stores to stock the right color and style of beads to match your outfit. The locally-owned store makes each piece by hand in a wide range of styles. Stephanie Carel, a co-owner of the store, shares her tips on this year’s fashion trends.
What is the latest trend in costume jewelry?
Women are into neon colors big time this year, in clothing and accessories. It’s back to the 70s and 80s. I’m getting requests for tie-dye tassels, which is a 70s style of beaded necklace with little tassels. Another trend is baroque pearls, which are misshapen pearls with a very natural look, as well as coin jewelry. Our men’s jewelry line has exploded the last few years, because there’s a limited market for men’s costume jewelry.
Rose Rock jewelry is our biggest online seller around the world. It’s so unique to Oklahoma. We have a local woman who digs them up for us, and we design them into jewelry. We also dig crystals from the Great Salt Plains. It is all authentically Oklahoma.
How did Silver Leaf Gems get started?
Designing jewelry is a family business. My mom, Diana Pate, and sister, Sondra Reid, owned the Bead Attic at Bryant Square in the early 2000s. In 2006, I joined them full-time as a designer, and we moved the business to downtown Edmond. The three of us make 100% of all the jewelry in the store.
What makes your jewelry different from that found at a department store?
Although we design all kinds of styles, we do a surprising amount of custom work for brides, pageant participants, television personalities and other events. Our clients can bring in their clothing, and we create pieces that complement the outfit.
Silver Leaf also seems to have a special niche as a place in Oklahoma that repairs costume jewelry, because we get repairs shipped to us from all over the state. Restringing silk-knotted pearls is an especially difficult art that Diana has mastered. We also refurbish old jewelry styles into new pieces.
Your store is located in a historic house?
Yes. At first, we were in the basement of a downtown building; then we moved upstairs to a larger area. In 2016, we moved into a restored 1930s bungalow. Everybody who comes into the store loves looking around the house. It feels cozy; perfect for a jewelry shop. It still has the original architecture, even the original doorknobs, but we’ve added some fun twists of color and decoration.
The family who built the house still comes by to visit. They had nine children living in this little house—which seems impossible. I would love to see more people taking these older homes and turning them into something special instead of destroying them. The historic site adds charm to our jewelry business.