Retiring — Maybe

Mary Barr, Certified Gemologist Appraiser, sits at the desk in her small back-room office. Bifocals and a loupe for appraising gems are slung on separate chains from her neck. It’s an hour from closing, El Niño has drenched the Los Angeles area all day, and there are still customers in the store. You have to be buzzed into Charles H. Barr Jewelers in Newport Beach, Calif. That wasn’t always the case and wouldn’t be now if there were much choice in the matter. There isn’t. A little more than a year ago, five men walked in waving guns. Without going into what happened, let’s just say there’s a security system in place and Mary Barr isn’t entirely thrilled about it. A jewelry store should “look like your living room.” She designed “every inch” of this one when she took the location in 1992. And it does look like a living room. Except for the door. Mary Barr’s

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