New Tennessee Jeweler Opens With an Ugly Jewelry Contest

Second-generation jeweler Uri Freijanes opened her first-ever fine jewelry store, International Flair Jewelers, in Farragut, Tenn., with a soiree that celebrates…ugly jewelry.

The cheeky party premise charged guests with wearing their “ugliest” jewels to the grand opening of the new store, which stocks silver and fine jewelry brands including Uno de 50, Cacique, Trollbeads, Waxing Poetic, LaFonn, Smoky Mountain Beads, and Lashbrook.

Guests arrived in gloriously gaudy jewels—a plastic candy-corn necklace, silver goth/biker rings, oversized plastic and shell pieces, and other offbeat baubles.

And yes, the friendly festivities included an ugly jewelry contest—the winner of which wore a brooch composed of wooden puzzle pieces and big, hilariously ugly bracelets.

Freijanes couldn’t be reached for comment for this story, but she told local media outlet Knox News that she wanted the opening to be fun and different: “The beauty of jewelry is that every piece has a story,” she said. “What might be ugly to someone else holds memories for the owner.”

International Flair Jewelers winner
The winner of the ugly jewelry contest (surely the candy corns put her over the top!) at International Flair Jewelers’ grand opening party

The retailer grew up around jewelry. Her mother, Ana Hurtado, worked in the jewelry business for 55 years before retiring, reports the media outlet. Freijanes has operated a jewelry kiosk in a mall and other locations for years, but this is her first stand-alone shop.

The well-appointed store carries jewelry in a wide range of price points, and Freijanes and store manager Bob Hartwick are both GIA-trained jewelers and gemologists, so the store takes in pieces for repair and redesign.

The refreshingly funny event idea is ripe for stealing. More fine jewelry retailers should be infusing hijinks into their events, social media, and customer service. Why? Younger luxury consumers connect with and respond to humor and levity.

Top: International Flair Jewelers in Farragut, Tenn. (photos courtesy of International Flair Jewelers)

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