6027 Highway 100, Nashville, Tenn.
Those passing through West Nashville might never stumble upon Maria Fouce’s brilliantly designed storefront Anatra Jewel by chance—unless, of course, they’re venturing to the city’s farthest reaches for a meal at the famed Loveless Cafe. But located seven miles west of downtown off Highway 100 among a cluster of high-end retailers, the 10-year-old shop has garnered a reputation as the city’s go-to spot for remounts, not to mention as a purveyor of other quality pieces. Nashvillians—particularly in the country music scene—certainly know where to find her, as names like Sheryl Crow and cast members of the hit ABC show Nashville all have been spotted wearing Fouce’s jewels.
After working as a third-generation hairdresser and owner of a salon in Los Angeles, Brooklyn-born Fouce relocated her family to Music City and decided to make a change; the result was Anatra. “I always loved jewelry, was a self-purchaser of jewelry, and had a lot of hair clients who made jewelry. I often would get something from a customer to sell to another customer. When I moved to Tennessee, I still procured pieces for others and so decided—like a cuckoo bird—to venture into something different.” In 2004, Fouce saw an opportunity to open a booth in a 250-square-foot storefront across the street, then after four years moved into her current space, which is nearly five times the size. Named for Fouce’s late grandmother, Anatra means duck (which is used in the logo) in Italian.
Fouce wanted a shop that was “comfortable especially for men, who are so fish-out-of-water when shopping for women.” She also wanted to curate pieces women could afford to buy themselves. “In L.A., you could find everything, but in Nashville, it was either costume or mega. It was hard to find that self-purchasing price point. And I wasn’t used to having women say, ‘I have to ask my husband.’?” Anatra’s jewelry goes from $300 to $29,000, though there’s a table up front with $50–$150 pieces (think gifts and impulse purchases).
Her Crown Jewels
Fouce has her own custom line that she outsources to designers in L.A. Likewise, her remounts are often envisioned by her and executed by jewelers such as Doron Isaak and Single Stone (Fouce is the exclusive Tennessee retailer for both). “We’re most known for our a-little-away-from-the-box fine jewelry,” she says. As for everyday wear, she says she sells a lot of stacking bands and rings as well as diamond hoops and monograms: “Our customers are looking for items that lean toward the more delicate and fashion-minded.”
Jewelry for a Cause
After her son was diagnosed with leukemia at age 16 (he passed away in 2005), Fouce wanted to do something for cancer patients. “Julian was a musician, so we started a foundation with the children’s hospital to employ a music therapist. Kids with these illnesses spend a lot of time in a hospital, and we all know how healing music can be.” The idea spawned Paper Dolls, a line of pendants, bracelets, and cufflinks whose proceeds benefit the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt music therapy program. Anatra sells an accompanying CD for which artists such as Faith Hill, Alison Krauss, and Vince Gill recorded patients’ original songs.
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