Jewelry, Art and Alex Sepkus

Is it jewelry as art, or art as jewelry? That’s a question we often ask ourselves when we’re choosing designers to represent and I don’t think that any designer walks that line more than Alex Sepkus. Alex is a self-described “intellectual eccentric,” composing each of his designs as a mosaic – it’s a compilation of many intricate pieces that come together in a harmonious, artful way. The components in each piece are so small that microscopes are needed to execute the work. His work is inspired by the Renaissance and Baroque eras, interpreted with a very modern approach, resulting in designs that are at once playfully quirky and eclectic, featuring extraordinary beauty and quality. I am so proud that Max’s is the exclusive Twin Cities retailer for Alex’s work and invite you to see this magnificent jewelry. While we carry his work throughout the year, we will be hosting a trunk show on April 24 and 25, enabling you to see and choose from even more and decide for yourself — is it jewelry or is it art?

Who Says You Can’t Wear Black to a Wedding?

“When I find a colour darker than black, I’ll wear it. But until then, I’m wearing black,” legendary designer Coco Chanel once said. At Max’s, we are surrounded daily by the vibrant colors of the gemstones in our artists’ collections – rich tones that energize and inspire us. But sometimes we crave the ease, elegance and timelessness of black.

In the art world, white is considered the absence of all color while black is the presence of all color. The color black implies independence, power, mystery, seduction, confidence, sophistication and intrigue. It’s those attributes that draw us to the color black and lead us to believe that, yes, you can wear black to a wedding. And it’s why some of our most talented jewelry artists dare to create wedding pieces in black – from working with black diamonds to oxidized metals, they design work that is at once unusual yet classic. It’s what makes black the perfect color for a wedding and for every day.

Many of our designers understand the allure and importance of black, using it extensively in their collections. The collections from Todd Reed and Yasuko Azuma feature rings and other jewelry created of oxidized sterling silver coupled with gold or precious gemstones in designs spanning from bold to delicate. And the wedding and engagement rings with black diamonds, such as the one featured here by Pamela Froman,  that have a timeless appeal and will evoke sophistication and elegance for a lifetime.

Our offerings of black wedding jewelry extend beyond rings for the betrothed. We also carry an array of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and cuff links (we love these from Deakin & Francis) that will beautifully adorn the couple and their attendants and will delight others who receive them as gifts to thank them for being part of a most special day.

So in response to that old adage about not being able to wear black to a wedding — we say “bring it on!!!!”


Spring Cleaning Time — For Your Jewelry Drawer!

What do you think – can we officially call it spring yet? Even though Mother Nature surprised us this morning with a bit of snow (ok, it is March in Minnesota — I guess we shouldn’t really be THAT surprised!), I’m willing to take that bet and say yes, which means that it’s time for a little spring cleaning. This is the time of year when you may be used to seeing me write about going through your jewelry drawer to find those items which, while they have great stones in them, you never pull them out to wear. Rather than just close the drawer back up and forget about them for a while longer, how about bringing them to create something new with them – something that you actually will love to wear. Montreal-based jewelry designer Janis Kerman is making her annual visit to Max’s this weekend for a trunk show and custom design event. It’s a perfect time to work with someone who is a master with using stones and other materials from your existing jewelry to create something that speaks to your current style and mood. If you’re in the market for a custom engagement ring, Janis would love to design that with you too. In addition to custom design work, Janis has a line of highly contemporary, artful jewelry that I really love to wear and I hope that you will too.

In addition to Janis’ jewelry, we will have an expanded collection of the Bande des Quatres line.  Bande des Quatres is a collaboration between Janis and her daughter Erin Wahed, and is heavily influenced by the Bauhaus masters, world renowned architects and abstract photographers.

The show is open to everyone but, if you’d like to meet with Janis to talk about custom design, please give us a call to make an appointment.  It’s time that the “old” jewelry drawer stopped collecting dust!


Transformation…defined as change, metamorphosis, alteration. As we turned the calendar earlier this week to the hopeful month of March (and see today that the first day of spring is just 13 days away…not that we’re counting!), our thoughts turn to transformation. Here in Minnesota we endure months on end of dark, short, quiet, peaceful, cold, typically snowy days in anticipation of the transformation we’re treated to come late March when we hear the sounds of birds who’ve returned from points further south, see the early formation of tiny buds on our trees, and feel the slow approach of warmer temps. We know that just around the corner lies the invigorating, uplifting change that ushers us into a new season with the accompanying cacophony of sounds, smells and colors that mark spring and summer.

One way we are celebrating this season of change is by introducing our new Wedding Case – a designated spot in the store we’ve created to showcase the stunning wedding collections of our designers. As you know, our store layout is designed to highlight each designer’s work in its own space but, after conversations with many of our  customers who asked to see our wedding ring collections, we thought it might be nice to have a spot where they could see a wide variety of options for their upcoming nuptials all in one place. Voila — the introduction of our Wedding Case!  A transformation of how we present our wedding collections to our customers.

The new case features a sampling of fabulous rings and other wedding jewelry from an array of designer collections including Just Jules, Suzy Landa, Paul Morelli, Yasuko Azuma and many more. The variety of looks represented range from elegantly classic to bold and less conventional, reflecting our aim of reaching out to people with different personal styles, offering jewelry that evokes their individualism. Something for everyone – beauty and uniqueness that the wearer will treasure everyday.

And diamonds? We’ve all heard that diamonds are a girl’s best friend and we have lots and lots of diamonds — but some couples just don’t want a classic white diamond. They want something different, so for them we offer wedding rings with red, cognac or black diamonds and even raw diamonds. If you don’t care for a diamonds at all, there are several options for you including different color sapphires, tourmalines, ruby and more.

We hope you’ll stop by soon to see our new Wedding Case and other recent additions to our jewelry collections. As always, your feedback is welcome and don’t forget to sample the chocolate!


Let's Talk About Love!

Welcome to our blog for 2015! We’re delighted to have you join the conversation about all things jewelry. We’re often told that coming to Max’s is like walking into “Cheers” where everybody knows your name. We love that comparison! We strive to create a casual environment where shoppers feel warmly welcomed and informed as they browse our collections.

With this being the season when so many couples become engaged, we wanted to kick off the new year with a special focus on wedding gems. At Max’s, we carry the lines of more than 50 of the world’s most respected fine artisan jewelers – many of them have wedding-specific collections and others have pieces ideal for couples who wish to have something more alternative. The common thread that weaves all of our designers together is a commitment to creating stunning, artistic work that’s handmade applying superior craftsmanship to designs using the finest, ethically-sourced gemstones and precious metals. When we work with wedding customers, our goal isn’t to sell the biggest diamond – rather, we will offer the very highest quality diamond in an exquisite setting that evokes the wearer’s individual style and we will be able to share the story of each piece of jewelry and the designer who created it. That’s what sets Max’s apart from other jewelers. That, and the chocolate – it wouldn’t be a visit to Max’s without ever-present samplings from our many collections of gourmet chocolate confections!

Some of our wedding customers favor a bold, edgy look like those found in Todd Reed’s ring collections  while others prefer a more delicately organic approach found in the Anne Sportun line. For couples seeking bespoke pieces, perhaps refashioning Grandma’s gems into an updated look, Max’s works with designers like Janis Kerman who are known for their custom work. With our vast array of designers representing a wide variety of aesthetic sensibilities at a variety of price points, there truly is something for everyone at Max’s.

In addition to wedding jewelry for the couple, Max’s offers fabulous gift items and accessories for the wedding party, from jewelry to handcrafted glass and other gift items. And for your guest favors, why not consider a gift of Max’s chocolate? Your guests will love you for it!

Thanks for visiting our blog! Please take a look at our collections and stay in touch – we’ll keep you updated with posts about jewelry trends, news from our shop and occasional posts from our designers.

TenThousandThings and One Very Important Holiday!

Ok, so I know that there are skeptics out there who believe that Valentine’s Day is a holiday that’s been made up and hyped by the retail industry to spur sales.  You know what I have to say about that?  Bah humbug!  I mean, c’mon — who can argue that saying “you’re special to me” is EVER a bad thing?  We’re going to keep the holiday spirit alive with a TenThousandThings trunk show between February 11 and February 14 (that date ring a bell?) I’ve long been a fan of this jewelry and, last year while in the jewelry market, had the opportunity to meet with them and agree that Max’s would be a perfect venue for their designs.  Our customers have been loving this jewelry since it arrived here — especially the necklaces that incorporate their signature technique of gold or silver beading on chain.  They certainly stand on their own, but really make a great statement when layered.  The price point of this deep and varied collection is very broad, making it a perfect option for many of your VIPs this Valentine’s Day!

What's In Store at Max's for 2015?!?!?

Is that a question or am I about to tell you?  How about a bit of both?  I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t start things off by thanking you — our customers and friends — for your support and business last year.  We love what we do at Max’s and we know that we couldn’t do it without you, and it’s my hope that you feel that from us every time you’re in the store.  We’ve been busy making plans for 2015 which we’re confident will be better than ever, with new beautiful jewelry, trunk shows with artists who have never been to the store before and, of course, new chocolate confections that are sure to please the palette.  I have often said that I think that most people believe that January is the time when retailers kick back and take it easy after the craziness that a busy holiday season can bring.  That’s not the case at Max’s, as we roll right from the winter holidays into Valentine’s Day planning — we DO sell jewerly AND chocolate after all!

We’re going to start our event schedule early this year, kicking things off just in time for the day of love (anyone have a special gift they plan to buy?) with a Lauren K trunk show on February 6 and 7.  Lauren describes her jewelry as bohemian chic and girlie with a bit of an edge. She says that her inspiration is not a particular stone or setting but, rather, the women she wants to reach –women who want feminine, beautiful jewelry that they can buy for themselves and wear everyday like their favorite perfume – I love it! It turns out that Lauren’s grandfather was also in the jewelry business and that she, like me, eventually came to the realization that the jewelry business was in her blood, so I guess you could say that it’s a perfect match between us.  I can’t wait for you to see all of the beauties that Lauren has designed that will be in the store.

It's About Time! A Paul Morelli Trunk Show at Max's (and we can't wait!)

I met John, who works for Paul Morelli, at one of the very first trade shows I ever attended. I was about 3 months away from opening the store, and the Morelli booth was stationed at the very front of a hotel conference room where the trade show was occurring.  The odd thing is that I didn’t even know about that show when I headed out of town — I had gone to Philadelphia for a larger show and found myself “stumbling” upon this smaller show.  Such great luck!  I was immediately taken with all of Paul’s beautiful jewelry (who wouldn’t be?) and thought it needed a home at Max’s. My friend who had come to the show with me encouraged me to hold off and wait a bit to gauge the response to the store, what was selling, etc.  Solid advice, very practical. Ok, so fast forward about 18 months — time for another trip to Philadelphia (which, conveniently, is the home of Paul’s atelier where all of his gorgeous creations are…well…created).  I called John and asked him if we could meet because I hadn’t been able to get the jewelry off of my mind. I was happy to learn that he hadn’t forgotten about Max’s either.  Some things are just meant to be, and thus began the relationship with the The House of Paul Morelli.

I have lots of favorites of Paul’s work, and a couple of pieces have made their way straight from our showcases to my jewelry box at home. However, I have rarely swooned as much over a promotional photo as I did when I saw this one. Not only do I love the jewelry depicted (those of you who know me know about my “thing” with bracelets, and that ring — I mean — c’mon!), but I love what this image is saying.  This, to me, depicts a woman who is strong, knows what she likes, gets what she wants, understands the importance of looking good and likes her scotch — gotta love all of that!

All of us at Max’s are really excited to welcome John to Max’s this weekend for his first visit, and cannot wait to see all that he is bringing with him.  I hope that you’ll join us; the trunk show takes place on Friday, October 10 from 10am – 9pm, and Saturday, October 11 from 10am – 6pm.  On Friday night, between 6-9, we’ll be celebrating the show with a cocktail reception. Expect to be wowed!

Ray Griffiths Jewelry — Fit for a Queen (or a Princess!)

When I first met Ray Griffiths, he explained the crown work motif found on all of his jewelry by way of telling me he had been a repairer of crowns and tiaras in his native Australia; I laughed.  Out loud.  I mean — really now — just how many crowns and tiaras can there be in the world that need repair?  When you live in a former British colony he told me, there can be a lot.  Hmm, makes sense when you put it that way.

I love Ray’s jewelry.  I love the crown work, I love the workmanship and quality, I love the stones and I love the way it feels when you wear it.  In addition to being a master designer and craftsman, Ray is also passionate about the gemstones that make their way to his pieces.  In his view, a perfect stone has no character or as he puts it, “no street cred”.  It’s the imperfections – the inclusions and the color bands — that give a gemstone value, and “that make it real”.  Gotta love that too because, well, isn’t it the imperfections that make all of us “real”?  This is serious jewelry made by an artist who is very serious about his craft but who, when you interact with him, is tons of fun!  That’s why I think you’re going to want to join us for this very special weekend as we welcome Ray to Max’s for his first trunk show.  There’s an opening night reception from 6-9 on Thursday, June19, and the fun continues all day on Friday and Saturday, June 20-21.  Come on in and find a crown that best fits you!


8 is Great — and Definitely NOT Enough!

Today is Max’s 8th birthday!  The most common response I’ve heard as I mentioned to people that our birthday was coming up at the end of the month is “Wow!  I can’t believe it’s 8 years already!”  To me, I don’t know if there are more days when it seems like the time has gone by quickly, or more days when I feel like we’ve always been here.  What I do know is that I really have been able to recognize my dream of owning a successful jewelry store and, for that, I am grateful to so many people; most especially, our customers.  The support, friendship and encouragement have been beyond measure, and I thank you, thank you, thank you.  The same holds true for our designers who are part of the Max’s collection of fine jewelry — I am so proud to represent your beautiful creations.  I also love it that I can call many of you my close friends.

When I was first putting the plans together for the store, I knew that I wanted to create an environment where people would feel comfortable and just want to hang out – kind of like the old “Cheers” bar – you know, where everyone knows your name.  I love it that not only have we gotten to know so many of our customers, but that they have gotten to know a number of our designers and have formed their own relationships.  We’ve added some new faces to our lineup of artist events this year, presenting an opportunity to develop some more new friendships.

The best present that we have is to do what we love.  It’s especially sweet because, for us, it means that we’re surrounded by beautiful creations (ok, the chocolates make it sweet too!) all day long.  We did receive another great present this week though — we were named to Town & Country‘s “The List: America’s Leading Independent Jewelers in 2014”.  I can’t tell you how proud that makes all of us.  That’s when it really hit me — we’ve done a lot in 8 years.  I hope that you’ll stay tuned though, because 8 is DEFINITELY not enough!

It's Time for a Party — And Alex Sepkus Jewelry!

This winter has been sooooo cold, sooooo snowy and soooo long, and we are anxiously anticipating lots of blooming flowers next week thanks to all of the rain we’ve had this week, and the fact that it’s (finally) May!  Last fall, Max’s became the Twin Cities’ exclusive retailer for Alex Sepkus jewelry, and I couldn’t be any  more proud of that.  We’ve decided to now celebrate the addition of Alex’s jewelry to the Max’s collection with a party!  Alex’s jewelry is recognized world-wide for its modern take on designs from earlier times including the Baroque and Renaissance eras and is often described as “playfully quirky”. Each piece of his jewelry is like a mosaic made from gold, platinum, diamonds and colored stones — a compilation of many intricate pieces that has to be done under a microscope.  The rings in this picture are some of his “candy rings” which are among some of my favorites from this very extensive collection.  We’re having a trunk show featuring Alex’s collection on Friday and Saturday, May 2-3, with an opening night reception and wine tasting with our friends from Amusee on Thursday May 1 (6pm-9pm) – and, yes, the jewelry will be available for purchase that evening.

But wait — there’s more!  May just happens to be Max’s “birthday” month (May 22 is the exact date for anyone who is keeping track), and we think that calls for a party too!  So, whatever it is that brings you in, I do hope that you’ll stop by to help us welcome spring (yes, puh-leese), see some absolutely gorgeous jewelry, and help us celebrate our birthday.

Something Old, Something New; The Janis Kerman Custom Design Event

Spring cleaning isn’t just for the garage, and “something old, something new” doesn’t apply only to brides.  I have a feeling that many of you are like me when it comes to the issue of “old” jewelry that’s sitting around in the back of a dresser drawer.  It could be things that caught your eye at the time but are now far removed from your style, or maybe it’s some heirloom pieces that belonged to others in your family that you don’t quite know what to do with – but you do know that you’re not wearing them very often (or ever at all).  For me, it was an issue of realizing that I had some beautiful things that I wasn’t wearing very often.  I still really liked all of them but, because I now mostly wear jewelry from the artists whose work we represent in the store, I wasn’t wearing them.  Enter Janis Kerman.  Janis is a master at taking your “old” jewelry — pearls, diamonds, charms and other stones – and designing a piece that you’ll actually wear.  This necklace is made from my mom’s pearls that I wore to my wedding, pearls that my husband gave me when he was my fiancee, aquamarine earring studs and an aqua/diamond necklace that he gave me, and the bracelet and earring jackets that I wore to my wedding.  This is now such a special, sentimental piece of jewelry that I love to wear — and look how many individually sentimental items I can wear at once!

So, if you have some of that “old ” jewelry — come on, you know you do! —  I invite you to think about scheduling a design appointment with Janis to create something special for you.  In addition, Janis has her own line and is well known for her asymmetrical “mismatched” earrings that I absolutely love.  The custom design event and trunk show will take place Thursday, April 24-Saturday, April 26.