Elizabeth Jarvis blended her love of jewelry and independent artists when she opened Muse ten years ago in Warren. We caught up with her recently to hear more about the inspiration behind her boutique/gallery.
Tell us a little about your background and why you opened MUSE.
I have had a life long love affair with jewelry. I studied Art History and worked retail jobs at small boutiques. After I graduated from college I started my own wholesale jewelry business, but soon learned that I preferred retail to wholesale. I came up with the idea of a handcrafted jewelry store because it combines so many interests of mine: jewelry, advocating for artists, creating a beautiful clean space to showcase highly curated work and helping customers find the perfect gift or create a custom piece they’ve been dreaming of.
All of your jewelry and gifts are handcrafted in America. Why is that so important to you?
I love working with artists and I love selling their work. I knew I wanted to keep it local and within America because this is my country and I saw no reason to import things that my peers were making beautifully here. It’s my version of shopping
You feature over 100 American artists. Tell us what you look for when you select a new artist.
I look for quality and uniqueness. There’s lots of costume jewelry in the world and a place for it, but I like to carry work that has a unique perspective and is made extremely well out of high quality materials like sterling silver and gold. In my opinion, jewelry should last. About half of the work I carry is made here in RI.
You have a great location on Water Street. Why did you choose Warren as the site of your boutique/gallery?
We were on Main Street for eight years and moved to Water Street two years ago. There was never any question in my mind that I wanted to open in Warren. At the time, it was one of the designated tax free districts for art and that was definitely part of the appeal, but more than that, I knew I wanted to open MUSE in a town filled with artists and creative people, people who think outside the box and aren’t afraid to try something new. I’ve always loved the energy and feel of Warren and still do.
You carry beautiful yet affordable jewelry and gifts for babies. Tell us why price point is a factor in what you display.
I love to offer high quality gifts that are not out of reach for most people. You can certainly find less expensive things at bigger stores, but the quality and style will not likely be there. And of course, there are much more expensive jewelry stores, but that is more exclusive than I want to be. I try very hard to find things that are so unique and beautifully made that they worth paying a little more for, but are not entirely out of reach.
What type of jewelry has been popular this summer?
Some recent trends no matter the season are raw and large faceted stones, stacking rings and rose or yellow gold instead of silver. Specific stones that are very popular are kyanite, white howlite and moonstone.
279 Water Street, Warren