Hi there friends of Max’s! Happy New Year! It’s been a long time (ok, waaaayyyy too long of a time) since we’ve chatted. Things got a bit crazy here toward the end of the year and we thank you for that because the craziness was all good. We love what we do, the designers we represent, and the opportunity to be surrounded by beauty and creativity on a daily basis. You make this possible for us. We so appreciate your support, encouragement and patronage — and the fact that you keep us focused on bringing our “A Game” to the store — at holiday times and every day.
One of the things that I am often asked by people who are first discovering Max’s is “So just what is the story behind the combination of jewelry and chocolate?” I wish I had a really intriguing answer to this, but it is really pretty simple – they’re two things that I really love and, when I went about creating Max’s, decided that they make a wonderful, luxurious pairing. Jewelry is an indulgence and so is chocolate. In my pre-Max’s corporate life, I travelled close to 100% of the work week. My little secret “stash” that I carried in my briefcase was a bar or 2 of really, really good chocolate. It became my reward after a particularly brutal meeting or long day. Something to look forward to when I returned to my hotel room. Fast forward to the world of jewelry, and I decided that chocolate makes perfect sense as a complement to the jewelry we represent — it’s artistic, vibrant, handcrafted and thoughtfully created. There is one thing that it has going for it that the jewelry doesn’t — it’s delicious!
A picture tells a thousand words, right? Well here at Max’s, the jewelry analogy to that is that the a great ring stack just could be worth a thousand dollars! Join us on September 22 and 23 for the Sarah Graham trunk show and ring stacking party and be entered in our Instagram contest to win a $1000 credit to be used for Sarah’s jewelry! Come in and build a ring stack– you can start your stack from scratch, or add one or more of Sarah’s to a stack that you already wear. We’ll take a picture of your stack and post it on Instagram, and people will vote on their favorite stack. The person who gets the most likes will win a $1000 credit at Max’s for Sarah Graham jewelry. Not a ring stacker? Not to worry as Sarah is bringing jewelry from all of her collections including her newest collection called Trigon. Sarah is known for her use of blackened cobalt chrome combined with high caret gold and diamonds to make jewelry that is at the same time a bit edgy as it is elegant and highly sophisticated.
So, come in and join the party September 22 and 23. You have nothing to lose except the possibility of winning $1000! To spend on jewelry. Really fabulous and cool jewelry. Yes, we’re serious!
Is there really such a thing as too much chocolate? You might think it’s a strange answer coming from me, but I say yes there is. I feel this way every year at this time after I’ve been shopping at the Fancy Food Show looking for new delicious and different chocolate for Max’s. Two solid days of taste after taste (I know, sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?!?!) does really get to be bit much. One of the things that gets tough when you’re trying so many different chocolates is the ability to decipher the nuances between them (that’s where the coffee samples come in handy–cuts through the sugar!). Having said all of this, I’m happy to report that I did sacrifice my stomach (and waistline!) in the name of research that would allow me to expand our already fabulous (if I do say so myself) selection of chocolates.
So what did I find?
Gluten free, dairy free, soy free EVERYWHERE! As someone who is lactose intolerant, sensitive to soy and who just found out she has a pretty serious gluten sensitivity, this was really nice to see. The allergen-free messaging was abundant in just about every category of food, and chocolate was no exception.
In the world of chocolate there were chocolates that have sweeteners other than cane sugar which is great for people who want to eat a less highly processed diet and who are watching their sugar intake. Coconut sugar, beer sugar and honey are examples of alternative sweeteners. There were a fair amount of chocolatiers using safflower oil (and even one using pine tree oil!) and there were several using safflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin.
In addition to bringing some chocolate into Max’s that are using these different ingredients, we will also be expanding our selection in terms of the countries we represent–either in terms of the origin of beans, the place of manufacture or the style of chocolate being produced. Stay tuned for new arrivals from the U.K., Germany, Italy and the USA.
I’ve gone to this food show for 10 years and I really think that this year’s show was the best in terms of variety offered and products that excite me for Max’s. Our new selections will begin to arrive this month and you’ll be track their arrivals on FB and our Instagram feed. In the meantime, I need to go hit the gym!
Question for you – what do a pair of bright yellow and black bumble bee cufflinks, a pirate key chain and a hand blown glass paperweight have in common? Here at Max’s, we think they all make fabulous gifts for your dad and grad! Yep, it’s a double-whammy in terms of gift giving this month and we’ve got you covered. Allergic to the bumble bees? How about the red guitar or the rabbit or the skull with a moving jaw? We love all of these fabulous and fun cuff links from British design house Deakin & Francis.
And for the women who are graduating? Well, there are lots of choices for them too including fabulous wrap bracelets, hoops and studs, layering necklaces – you know, that type of jewelry that you love to wear every day. Of course, we think that a little something sweet works too, so we’re all stocked up on a variety of chocolates, including my current favorites – chocolate with quinoa and chocolate made with coconut milk. So for the dads and grads in your world, come on in and let us help you find that perfect something-something!
Suzy Landa is a stone junkie. Those aren’t my words, those are hers. She says that she falls in love with a stone first, and then creates a design that best shows it off. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? She also says that she doesn’t follow trends when creating her jewelry which I LOVE about her. She’s got a strong enough sense of who she is and confidence in her designs that she doesn’t feel the need to be trendy. That’s good news for all of us who like to wear her jewelry, because it means that we won’t see ourselves coming and going all over town. If your attendance at prior trunk shows is any indication, Suzy is one of your favorite designers. We love it when Suzy is in the store with her entire collection because the vibrancy of the gemstones she uses in her jewelry just lights things up — and she’s a lot of fun! Rather than me continuing on about all that I think is so right about Suzy’s approach to design and the corresponding results, why not listen to her talkabout her approach and how she does what she does.
At the risk of sounding a bit like a broken record, I find it amazing that another year has flown by and that Max’s is another year older. When we opened our doors, I don’t know that I can honestly say what I thought the store would be like nine years out. What I can say though, is that it’s been a terrifically fun journey filled with great new relationships with our customers and designers and staff. Who can argue that coming to a place filled with beautiful jewelry and delicious chocolates every day is a pretty sweet deal?!?! I am so in awe of what our designers’ brains develop, and love selecting from their creations to bring them to Max’s with the hope that you’ll react to them the same way I do.
When I left the corporate world to open Max’s, I referred to it as the start of “Chapter 2” in my life. Nine years later, I’m still writing, and have every expectation and hope — with your fantastic support and a bit of luck — that it’s going to be a VERY long chapter. I hope that you’ll stay tuned!
There are a number of things that happen every year. It snows (well, ok, only if you live in certain places), you have to file a tax return (yep, sorry, that’s not optional), young adults toss their hats in the air during commencement ceremonies, there are fire works sent high into the sky in July, and holiday decorations start springing up in many shopping establishments the day after Halloween. One of the other things we do, if we’re lucky to have her, is celebrate mom. Yep, Mother’s Day. Did you know it’s this Sunday? Need some ideas? How about this for starters. Given that it’s spring and the time of year that flowers start to bloom, we’re in love with these hydrangea earrings from John Iversen, one of the newest designers to join Max’s collection. The hydrangea is one of John’s signature styles, and is available in gold or silver, with different numbers of blooms. We think it’s perfect for mom, because you were thinking of getting her flowers anyway — right?!?!
Do you know what’s fun? Here at Max’s, it’s welcoming one of our designers to the store for the very first time. On May 1-2, we’re welcoming Sara Freedenfeld, the designer of Amali jewelry to the store for a trunk show. Sara discovered her passion for making jewelry while backpacking through South America. While in Chile, she learned to combine natural elements with knotted strings to form intricate wearable art. In Venezuela, she met an artist who taught her the how to link and mold metal and things took off from there. Drawing inspiration from the natural landscapes and vibrant textiles that she saw during her travels, Sara hand weaves gold chain and gemstones together to create jewelry that is sophisticated and glamorous. We couldn’t be more thrilled to represent her in the store and welcome her for her Twin Cities visit. She’ll be in the store on May 1-2, which – hint, hint — just happens to be in time for some Mother’s Day shopping!
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?
“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!!!!”
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!