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@Work: Jewelweed


Aug 3, 2005 – Anita Shultz said when she moved to St. Croix in 1998, "I was not sure that I really ever wanted to open a retail store." But this December her jewelry store in Christiansted, Jewelweed, will be celebrating its fifth anniversary. She plans to mark the anniversary with some expansion and a new look.
The store, located on Queen's Cross below Bacchus Restaurant, already has a unique look, with the colorful pencil drawings by Shultz decorating its wall.
The store offers a selection of custom-designed fine jewelry — created on site by Shultz — and also offers repair services.
Shultz said the store is mostly known for its ever-changing inventory of gold and silver jewelry with high quality gemstones, but it also carries a collection of hand-blown perfume bottles, salt 'n pepper shakers by Gazelle Glass, and fine hardwood valet and jewelry boxes made by Heartwood Creations.
Employee Bonnie Lurie says, "We have something for everybody, from $30 to $3,000." Lurie adds that what makes Jewelweed unique is Shultz's extraordinary talent as an artisan. She said, "She can turn people's fantasies into realities."
The store has also been selected as a nominee for the 2005 Top 100 Retailers of American Craft. NICHE magazine, the trade publication for retailers of fine American craft, will announce the 100 winners at a ceremony on Aug. 5 during a buyers convention in Pennsylvania.
Shultz says, as a small business that relies on a local clientele, Jewelweed regularly extends its resources to assist local needs. Currently Jewelweed is raising funds for the young cast of "Remember Where You Come From," a locally produced musical, which is preparing for a performance in New York.
Schultz is proud of her two full-time employees and her part-time workers at the store. So, it is natural that another project Jewelweed is lending support to is the drive to get its employee, Mrs. U.S.V.I. Louella Leon, to Las Vegas to represent the territory in the Mrs. U.S.A. Pageant. Leon is the multitalented and hardworking mother of six children.
Shultz also uses the store to help local youths move forward in careers. The store has sponsored Tonya Swinnea in her effort to become a jeweler. She has apprenticed at Jewelweed for over three years, had her solo debut show in December 2003, and has attended a workshop where she earned her certification. She is about to begin pursuing her degree in gemology. Chandar Ramon apprenticed at Jewelweed for two years through the School to Career Program and was well prepared for her enrollment at a school in Carlsbad, Calif. Ramon has earned her Professional Bench Jeweler certificate and is currently completing the CAD/CAM Master Wax Carving course.
Lurie, in addition to serving as a jewelry apprentice for the past three years, also brings 25 years of sales and marketing abilities to Jewelweed.
This summer Jendayi Collingwood, a student and fashion designer-to-be who attends the Educational Complex, is employed at Jewelweed through Sen. Usie Richards' 2005 Summer Hire-A-Youth Program. Shultz says, "Jewelweed is consistent in its desire to continually give back to St. Croix."
Shultz had 15 years experience working in jewelry in Georgia and Virginia before moving to St. Croix, after her husband got a job in the aquatic program at the University of Virgin Islands.
For more information on the store call 719-2888.
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