See the Winners from Cultured Pearl Association of America Competition!

I am so pleased and proud that the Cultured Pearl Association of America chose Max’s as one of only 2 retailers in the country to showcase the winners, runners-up and some of the other entrants in this year’s competition.  There are some really fabulous pieces to see (and they are available for sale!) — and oh, the creativity!  Here is a description of the various categories as described by Jennifer Heebner for the CPAA.


For the past nine years, the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) has challenged the international design community to innovate with pearls—an ethically sourced and sustainable gem whose beauty and contributions to aquatic environments worldwide often aren’t celebrated enough. [Beautiful pearls only come from pristine waters.] That’s why the CPAA has partnered this year with Max’s to better promote these beautiful gems, better acquaint Minneapolis-area consumers with them, and give winning pieces a bigger platform for exposure.

The winning pieces and several honorable mentions from the 2018 CPAA International Pearl Design Competition are now on display and available for purchase through Dec. 7. From $600 pearl-and-paper-clip-motif earrings in gold with diamonds to a one-of-a-kind pair of South Sea and akoya pearl earrings with diamonds, these designs aren’t ones you’ll see anywhere else!

When designers create jewels for contests, they let their imaginations run wild in order to create masterful styles worthy of recognition and heirloom status. That goal has been accomplished and them some with this year’s winning pieces.

Drop by the store to see the following jewels and nab your own piece of lustrous design history.

The Categories:

President’s Trophy. This top prize is given to the piece deemed the most beautiful and original design concept that is well made, celebrates pearls, and leaves a lasting impression of pearls as must-have gems.

Winner: Rivoli earrings by Adam Neeley of Adam Neeley Designs in Laguna Beach, Calif. Made in 14k, 18k, and 22k gold with golden South Sea pearls, cream-to-white akoya pearls, and diamonds.

Luster Award. This winning piece represents the evolution of a best-selling pearl jewelry design and bears a covetable and marketable concept with wide appeal for the marketplace.

Winner: Day-to-Night pendant necklace by Hisano Shepherd of Little h Jewelry in Los Angeles. Made in 14k gold with sliced and carved Tahitian pearls and black and colorless diamonds.

Orient Award. This winning piece appeals to an emerging pearl jewelry collector—someone who has never before thought of wearing pearls—through attractive design, innovative use of pearls, and an accessible price.

Winner: Orbit pendant by Timo Krapf of Timo Krapf Jewelry in Pittsford, N.Y. Made in platinum with a Tahitian pearl and cord and inspired by anticlastic raising.

Visionary Award for Classic Styles. This winning piece is attractive, creative, and salable, championing a fresh look for an iconic pearl style—strands, studs, bracelets, or a ring—to help change the dated perception of pearls in the market.

Winner: Time is Now Convertible Skull necklace by Jennifer Pusenkoff of Jennifer Pusenkoff Designs in Essexville, Mich. Piece features Tahitian pearls, a white South Sea pearl, a white freshwater pearl, a carved howlite skull, diamonds, and 18k gold components. The piece transforms for wear in different ways.

Wedding Day Pearls. This winning piece best captures what a contemporary bride might wear on her wedding day.

Winner: Rivoli earrings by Adam Neeley of Adam Neeley Designs in Laguna Beach, Calif. Made in 14k, 18k, and 22k gold with golden South Sea pearls, cream-to-white akoya pearls, and diamonds.

Fashion Award. This winning piece features a creative compilation of materials fashioned into a youthful, high fashion, and original pearl jewelry design that looks as if it came straight from a Paris runway.

Winner: Sea Star earrings (pictured) by Mary Kay and Patrick Mohs of Patrick Mohs Jewelry in Wayzata, Minn. Made in 18k gold with golden South Sea pearls and diamond accents.

Spotlight Award—Akoya Pearls. This new category for 2018 focuses on designs where 75 percent of the piece features one type of pearl—the akoya pearl for this year. This winning piece should make viewers think about akoya pearls and all their colors, including natural-color baby blue akoyas in addition to classic white, in a way that is fresh and modern, challenges the standard of designs that feature it, and entices a non-pearl-lover to start collecting.

Winner: Flex cuff by Sean Gilson for Assael in New York City. Made in 18k gold by way of the anticlastic raising technique for flexibility and has akoya pearls.

Honorable mentions for the U.S. Division that will also be in store include:

  • The Southern Magnolia ring by Ashleigh Branstetter
  • Harmony mother-of-pearl ring by Gina Ferranti of Gigi Ferranti Jewelry
  • Pink Ombre ring by Hisano Shepherd of Little h
  • Opulence necklace by Hisano Shepherd of Little h
  • Il Festino ring by Hisano Shepherd of Little h
  • Spiral Collection earrings by Hisano Shepherd of Little h
  • Dancing Butterflies ring by James Kyllonen of Kyllonen Luxury
  • Lydia Grows necklace by Lika Behar of Lika Behar Designs
  • Golden Waves ring by Mary Kay and Patrick Mohs of Patrick Mohs Design
  • Paper Clip earrings by Mastoloni
  • Crushed Ombré ring by Pamela Froman of Pamela Froman Fine Jewelry





Are You Ready? It’s Time for Max’s Semi-Annual Sale

It’s summer and you know what that means – time for Max’s semi-annual sale! We just got home from a big buying trip and it’s time to make some room for all of the new great jewelry we selected for the store, so now is a great time to stop in and see if something you’ve been eyeing for a while is on sale.  While not everything has been marked down, there certainly is a lot of jewelry that is part of the sale, we are all pretty sure that you’re going to love it! With reductions in price of anywhere between 30-80%, how could you not?

Let’s talk the sale and buying online.  It’s no great secret that when people shop online they sometimes “shop around” looking for a price advantage at one store vs. another.  That’s ok.  We’ve all done it.  We don’t want to impact another store’s business by advertising that a piece is on sale that another store is selling at full price. And let’s be honest here — putting a sale price online is, after all, a form of advertising.   We also don’t want to negatively impact any of our designers who are selling off of their websites who may not have marked a piece down.  The only reason that we put jewelry on sale is that it is been around for a little longer than we had expected and we need to make a bit of room for what’s new.  Make sense?  I hope so.  By all means, if you’re wondering what’s on sale and you can’t get into the store, especially if you’ve been eyeing something for a while,  please, please, please call or email us and we’ll let you know.  Similarly, if you wind up buying something online that is marked down in the store, you’ll be getting a happy call/email from us about a refund!

At the same time that you’re enjoying the sale, you might also want to feast your eyes on some of the new jewelry that has already begun to arrive.  Lene Vibe, I’m talking about you…..!!!!

Many Thanks for 12 Great Years at Max’s and Here’s to Many More!

Happy Birthday to us!  We’re 12! Ok, so that may sound a little self-promoting I know.  Honestly though, given all of the challenges since we opened our doors, I am quite proud that we’re still standing — and standing stronger than ever!  While there have been some tough times that have made for some long days, the truth is that these 12 years have really flown by.  We opened our doors, we moved our location (I know that it was just across the greenway, but a move is a move if you have to pack and unpack all of the stuff!), won a few “best of” awards and watched some of our retail neighbors flourish while, sadly, some have closed or moved elsewhere.  And the babies!  Members of the Max’s team have brought 4 little people into the world while they’ve been here.

During the past 12 years, however, a few things have remained constant.  The single biggest of these, and the most important to us, is the support of our customers.  Your support, encouragement, friendship and smiles mean the world to us.  We love what we do and we are so grateful that what we are doing here at Max’s has meaning to you.  Since the first day of creating the vision for Max’s, one of the most important things to me was to create a space that was inviting and welcoming to our customers in order to display what we believe to be the best “artful” jewelry.

Jewelry is about self-expression.  I’ve always said that, while trend watching is fun, the most important thing in selecting and buying jewelry is how you feel about what you’re choosing to put on your body.  You might choose something because of the material it’s made from, because of the inspiration behind the piece, because of the occasion it represents, or because it’s just downright beautiful.  Whatever it is that moves you to say “yep, that’s the one!”, it’s our hope that you’ll feel great every time you open your jewelry drawer and see it and put it on your body.

We’ll be heading into the jewelry markets soon to find some new wonderful things to bring your way.  We’re never content to rest on our laurels, and are excited about what the next several months — and years — will bring!  Now it’s time to celebrate with some chocolate!

Ray Griffiths is Going to Show You How to Give Your Mom the Royal Treatment!

We’re getting ready for Ray days at Max’s! Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’ve got a trunk show featuring the jewelry of New York designer Ray Griffiths on May 11 and 12 — and Ray will be in the store the entire time. Ray began his career more than 40 years ago in his native Australia, where as a teenager he studied the fine art of restoring and designing crowns and tiaras worn by royalty. He learned how to create the grid-like pattern found in gold crowns, which gives each piece a distinctive design element and visual heft while allowing it to remain light and easy to wear (after all, all of those jewels get heavy and could give you a headache). Fast forward to today, and that Crownwork® technique that was part of the vintage jewelry Ray was restoring is now his signature and present in all of his jewelry.

Ray’s work is inspired by the Edwardian and Regency eras, Spanish Moors, and Roman Greco, as well as his love for mid-century architecture. He has received numerous honors for his work, and his line include rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, wedding, custom work, and his Everyday Ray casual collection.  We think that Ray’s is a true master at this craft, creating jewelry that is absolutely stunning with workmanship that is second to none. On top of that, Ray is one of the most delightful people to be around and we’re so happy to welcome him back to Max’s.  With Mother’s Day on Sunday, this is a great time to visit the store.  You won’t be sorry that you did!




Springtime Artisan Wedding Ring Event!

I can hardly believe it, but we’re getting ready to celebrate our 12th year in business! Wow! I know it sounds like a cliche, but I have to ask… just where does the time go? One of the things that has changed for us over the years is that our selection of wedding jewelry has really expanded. If you had asked me 12 years ago about our wedding business, I would tell you that it was nowhere on my radar screen. That portion of our business grew because of our customers.  The year was 2006 and the term “alternative bridal” had just barely begun to be uttered. Fast forward to today, and we have over hundreds of wedding designs from several designers representing a number of styles. The wedding and engagement rings at Max’s range in style from classic elegance to edgy luxe, with the common thread of being hand-crafted by skilled artisans. Alternative, traditional, vintage, modern – we’ve got them all! Some of our rings are highly organic in their design, and some use nontraditional materials for wedding jewelry, such as black steel in the band or a red diamond as the center stone.

We’re doing something that we’ve never done before at Max’s with a special wedding ring event. Between April 6 and April 21, over 250 rings from more than 15 of the designers we represent will be available at a 20% discount*!  You can see some of them here — we try to keep our website as up-to-date as we can, but there are even more that are included in the event.

Allow me to share a bit about our approach to bridal/wedding sales.  When we work with wedding customers, our goal isn’t to sell the biggest diamond. We prefer to offer the very highest quality diamond in an exquisite setting that evokes the wearer’s individual style.  We also love to share the story of each piece of jewelry and the designer who created it. We’re not about selling trends but, rather, helping our brides and grooms find that piece of jewelry that best expresses their personality and fits their lifestyle.

I hope that you’ll stop in between April 6 and April 21 to explore our wide assortment of rings for both her and for him!


*no adjustments on prior purchases

*discount does not apply to custom orders when there is any change to the design of the ring presently in the store (e.g., choice of stone, number of stones)

*the offer will be extended to ring size special orders

*reward points will not be earned on purchases that are a part of this promotion

*existing reward points may be used on these purchases

From the Bench: Redesigning Jewelry with Janis Kerman

It’s spring cleaning time! I’m not talking about cleaning out your clothes closet – I’m talking about cleaning out your jewelry box. You know those things that are sitting there that you are never, ever going to put on but that you just can’t part with. They may be family heirlooms, or things that evoke special, sentimental memories but just don’t reflect your current style. I’ve got a solution – join us May 4-6 for our custom design event with jewelry desigver Janis Kerman. Blending the old with the new by using stones and metals from your existing jewelry, Janis can create a design that matches how you dress and live today. Finished jewelry from her collection will also be in the store, including her famous asymmetrical earrings which are definitely a customer favorite.

Janis has been designing jewelry for 45 years.  Her first exhibition was in her hometown of Montreal and, once again, The Guild in Montreal will hold another Janis Kerman exhibition — this time, a retrospective of her career.  As part of the run-up to the exhibition, MetalAid conducted this fabulous interview with Janis about her career — the early days, how she approaches her work, inspiration and what comes next.

I met Janis Kerman in February 2006 at a small, juried trade show and immediately knew that her stunning jewelry needed to be a part of Max’s.  In retrospect, “knowing” what the store needed is a strong statement because we wouldn’t be open for another 3 months so I was shopping for inventory with a hope and expectation of who our customer would be and what s/he would like.  Not only did I immediately realize that her contemporary designs aligned with my personal taste, but also with the premise of “jewelry as art”, which is an underpinning of what Max’s tries to represent to our customers.

Fast forward 10 years, and Janis and Max’s are still together!  Her annual custom design event has become a must-do event for many of our customers as she has breathed new life into those family heirlooms and “stale” jewelry pieces.  If you’re interested in a custom design, please give us a call in the store to make an appointment. Also, need I remind you that Mother’s Day is just around the corner? Graduation season?  I think you probably get the point — more about that later!

One of Our Customers’ Favorites–The Anne Sportun Trunk Show

Some things are just meant to be.  In the world of fine, artisan, artful jewelry, there is a lot of beauty from which to choose.  Not everything is right for everybody, and that’s how it should be.  There are some designers, however, who just seem to have a knack for designing a wide range of highly wearable pieces that have really, really broad appeal.  Anne Sportun is one of those designers and has been one of our customers’ favorites since the very beginning of Max’s.  Truly, we have been representing Anne’s jewelry since day 1 — and that’s almost 11 years ago!  During that time, Anne’s line has continued to grow and grow and grow — from easy to wear everyday jewelry like these gemstone wrap bracelets that are so popular, to special occasion pieces to a complete line of wedding rings for both the bride and groom, there really just may be something for everyone here.

Trunk shows are one of our favorite things at Max’s because it’s such a great opportunity to bring more of a designer’s work to our customers, and there is no doubt that our customers love it when it’s time for Anne Sportun show.  That time has come — the show runs all day Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22.

You Dropped a (Peacebomb) on Me

I love this picture.  In today’s world that is filled with so much ugliness, the idea of flowers exploding in the air is a welcome site.  I was drawn into the Article22 booth at a recent trade show both by this image and by this spoon that was at the front of the display that said “this is not a spoon”.  As I was picking the spoon up and not understanding how it could be so light, someone approached me and said “it was a bomb”.  Excuse me, but what did you just say?  “A bomb.”  I needed to hear the story.

Article22 is a designer brand of hand crafted jewelry and home accessories that tells real stories of transformation of negative into positive.  The first collection, Peacebomb, is jewelry that has been up cycled by artisans in Laos.  It is made made from detonated bombs and other scrap aluminum and finished with precious metals and stones.  The bombs were dropped on Laos by the U.s. during the Viet Nam war; an  average  of  one  bomb-load  every  eight  minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years, approximately 250 million bombs. Laos  was  left  with  80  million  unexploded  bombs  contaminating  the  land.  Less  than 1%, around 500,000, of the bombs have been cleared.  A portion of the sales proceeds from the Peacebomb collection help fund the clearance of some of these unexploded bombs.

Earlier this month, Article22 was recognized by Prince Harry at Kensington Palace as he paid homage to the inspirational legacy of his mother 20 years after both her death and historic minefield walk which brought to life the horror still facing communities ravaged by war.

2017 also marks the signing and ratification of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, and MAG’s (the Mine Advisory Group) Nobel Peace Prize award.  ARTICLE22 has worked with MAG since 2010 and has donated funds to help clear over 150,000 square meters of bomb littered land in Laos.  This includes the removal of 400 unexploded bombs from the land of one artisan family in Naphia Village where the jewelry is produced.

And to think it all started with a spoon.

Happy New Year!  Wow!  It’s been waaaaayyyyyy too long since I’ve last posted anything — my apologies.  Now that we’ve turned the calendar to February, you know what that means – that designated day of love is upon us!  Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be the same here at Max’s if we didn’t celebrate it with the traditional live broadcast of the myTalk 107.1 ShopGirls show the Saturday before the big day, so that means that Allison and Harmony will be store on Saturday, February 11 between 11am and 1pm. Fine chocolates that are sold in a fine jewelry store – do you think they’ll have anything to talk about?!?!? Yeah, I think so too!

Our shelves and cases are full of things that would make great gifts – for all of the special people in your life. If you’re looking for some jewelry gift ideas, jump on over to our Valentine’s Day gift guide — it’s a bit of a (jewelry) love story!  If jewelry isn’t your thing, how about if I try to tempt you with some of our chocolates selections? One of the staff favorites right now is a new line of from Australia. They’re absolutely delicious and with a name like “goddess bars”, they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day. Of course we have assorted heart collections with fillings like bourbon ganache, single malt scotch and, of course everyone’s favorite — sea salt caramel.

Those are just a  few little teasers that I hope that has tempted you to stop by and let us help you with your Valentine’s shopping – or any shopping that you’re doing.

It’s Time for Max’s Semi-Annual Sale!

Ready.Set.Time to spend those holiday gift cards!  Starting at 30% off and going all the way to 80%, we’ve marked down several items that just might have your name written on them. Whether it’s because you’re feeling that Santa disappointed a bit this year, you received lots of gift cards as gifts, or you just feel like doing some shopping to treat yourself, it’s a great time to stop in to the store. It’s not just the sale items that are sure to be tempting, because we were receiving new items through the holiday shopping season, so there are sure to be many things that you haven’t even seen yet. The sale runs through January 14 but….you know how it goes….when it’s gone it’s gone, so you might want to shop early!


It’s Time for the Erica Molinari Trunk Show!

Holiday shopping this weekend? I hope so and I hope that you’ll stop in for the trunk show with jewelry designer Erica Molinari. For those of you who know Erica, you know that things get a bit crazy – in a good way of course – when Erica is in the store with her full collection of sterling silver and gold charms. Well, things are going to get just a bit crazier because Erica has been hard at work expanding not only the charm line, but her collection of gemstone rings, gold earrings and gold bands – many with inspirational inscriptions on the inside that are similar to those on her charms (and featured in the pic above) – not to mention an entirely new enamel line! Yep, our favorite Olympian-turned-jewelry designer has been hard at it since she was last at the store, and this weekend’s show is sure to be a lot of fun. Erica will be in the store all day Friday and Saturday, December 8 -9. The holidays are coming up fast, and we’d love to help you with your shopping. Jewelry, gifts, chocolates — what are you waiting for?!?!

Join Us for Small Business Saturday!

Join us this Saturday, November 26, to shop small and keep it local!  In the spirit of the season and to show our appreciation for your support, we’re “paying it forward” with a “points forward” day.  Use the points that you would normally earn for a future purchase against your purchase on Saturday.  In other words, if you spend $100 on Saturday and earn 10 points, we’ll take $10 off of your invoice!!!
One of our favorite traditions continues as The ShopGirls from MyTalk 107.1 will in the store for a live broadcast on Saturday!  We love it when Allison and Harmony visit to dish about all things shopping, and think that it’s a great way to celebrate Small Business Saturday and kick off the official start of the holiday shopping season!