In Naples, “Marissa” is like Madonna, Beyoncé, Adele. Say the name, and everyone knows you’re referring to the fashion matriarch of Southwest Florida, whose boutique Marissa Collections is synonymous with the area’s most-sought-after designer clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry. Like the rest of the store, the new 1,400-square-foot Jewelry Gallery is a study in ultimate luxury. Nestled between a shoe salon well stocked with the likes of Lanvin and a sumptuous space dedicated to Italian master of cashmere Brunello Cucinelli, the Gallery shines like a jewel itself, a well-designed space with a carefully selected inventory of baubles that are both striking and wearable.
Like Mother, Like Son
The Marissa Collections enterprise is a true family affair. What was started by namesake Marissa Hartington in 1975 with a hand-picked selection of clothing and accessories has since blossomed into something of a local landmark; the big pink building sits on the corner of one of downtown Naples’ busiest shopping districts.
Marissa maintains daily hands-on involvement in the store (along with her husband, Burt, who handles the business affairs); but it is their son, Jay, who has adopted a major role in running the family business, including overseeing the recent expansion of the former jewelry department into a dedicated in-store boutique. Instead of being just another place to buy jewelry, Jay sees the Jewelry Gallery as an extension of the store’s all-around lifestyle shopping experience. “Some stores you go in, and there’s just jewelry. And you go, ‘Okay, great. But what do I wear it with?’?” he explains. “We focus on the head-to-toe concept.”
Marissa Collections’ specialty lies in building wardrobes that complement the jet-setting lifestyles of its clientele, many of whom have been shopping at the boutique since its early years. “We have these great clients that wear jewelry but, in some ways, were wearing all the same jewelry as their peers,” Jay says. “Luxury, in my mind, means you own it and nobody else has it.”
He and Jennifer McCurry, the store’s director of jewelry and a graduate gemologist, have curated an eclectic mix of designers whose pieces fit different niches. “We’re adamant about making sure that certain designers don’t cannibalize each other,” Jay explains. “So if we have one 24-karat gold designer, we won’t bring in another 24-karat gold designer.”
The boldly colorful, one-of-a-kind pieces from India-born Arun Bohra’s Arunashi reflect his 200-year family legacy in the jewelry industry, while Tamara Comolli’s casually chic pieces speak well to Naples’ laid-back beach vibe. Most of the jewelry is priced from $500 to $5,000, though some individual pieces—like David Webb estate works and previously unproduced items—sell for more.
Looking the Part
The Jewelry Gallery even looks different from a standard jewelry store. During its design, the space became something of a showroom and a showpiece all at once, with a nod to its designers’ international backgrounds. (The garden-inspired hologram-coated wallpaper was sourced in Switzerland.)
Instead of showing jewelry over the counter, Marissa Collections expanded upon the head-to-toe mantra and created a private viewing room so shoppers can see the pieces in context—with clothing and accessories, as it would be worn. “The majority of our fine jewelry, we sell in the dressing room,” Jay says. “We don’t sell traditional jewelry and the experience isn’t traditional either.”
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