968 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, Conn.
The vibrant heart of West Hartford—known to locals as “The Center”—is a chamber of commerce’s dream: a diverse mix of coffee shops, upscale eateries, and chic boutiques, where family businesses far outnumber chain stores. And with a 57-year, multigenerational history, Philip David Jewelers fits right into the Center. Its artful selection of jewelry, displayed among metal and stone found objects, has helped the store cultivate a loyal customer base throughout the Hartford region and beyond.
Keeping It in the Family
Philip Rosin followed in the footsteps of his father, jeweler Morris Rosin, when he and his wife, Nathalie, opened Philip David Jewelers in 1954. Today, Morris’ daughter Pamela Rosin owns and operates Philip David. “I remember going to jewelry shows when I was really little, and I started working in the store when I was 13,” says Pamela, who was running the store by the time she became a graduate gemologist in the 1980s. She credits her mother with the store’s commitment to art, design, and workmanship. (“The Art of Design” is Philip David’s tagline.) “Even back in the 1960s, she would go to craft fairs in Vermont in search of well-made, artistic pieces. She definitely had a good eye,” says Pamela.
Take Me to Funkytown
“You’ll see things here—funkier things—that you don’t see in other stores in West Hartford Center,” says Pamela. “It’s still timeless, just not boring. If I sell diamonds, I sell them in unique and interesting ways. It’s all about the design and workmanship.” Local artist Alexandra Rivera’s distinctive brushed gold and diamond disc creations ($1,000–$1,700) are the type of unusual interpretation Pamela prefers. Most of her merchandise ranges from ethnic to organic to modern; what she steers clear of, however, are overly crafty, unwearable pieces: “Different just to be different gets old quickly.”
Up Close and Personal
Pamela has always shunned mass-produced pieces in favor of handmade items. “When you touch something that someone’s made, you get a feeling,” she says. Designer Terri Logan, for example, personally unearths the river rocks she uses to craft earrings, bracelets, and pendants ($100–$500). That personal touch is also evident in Talya Baharal’s earrings, which are hand-sculpted from sterling silver and alternative metals ($100–$500). Californian Dana Kellin weaves and wraps fine-gauge wire with multiple metals, gemstones, and beads to create exquisitely intricate earrings and necklaces ($100–$500).
Philip David’s history with Terri Logan Studios and Talya Baharal spans more than two decades. But Pamela is always looking for new artists. (She recently started stocking several Turkish designers, including ARA Collection and Lika Behar, both of whom create handcrafted 24k gold pieces.) Some of Philip David’s designers are local, most are from the United States, and very few are household names…yet. “We carried big-name jewelers when they were little,” notes Pamela, adding that her store worked closely with David Yurman when he was starting out in the 1960s. She nurtures relationships with her shoppers as well. “People stop by just to visit,” says longtime staffer Gwen Zaslow, who was originally Pamela’s customer. “They like the warm and welcoming environment.”
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