By  on April 16, 2007

NEW YORK — Two accessibly priced jewelry stores owned by Europeans who believe buying fine jewelry doesn't have to break the bank have opened in Greenwich Village and NoLIta here.

Frederique Dessemond has been around New York's designing block before, and in March opened a Ginette NY store on busy West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village. The native of Marseilles, France, has been designing under the name Ginette — representing an "old-fashioned but modern French woman" — for the last five years. She has done two wholesale collections for retailers such as Calypso Bijoux, and Paris' Le Bon Marché and Les Printemps. Now, she can focus on her own retail business.

Ginette NY's 14-karat and white gold rings, bangles and pendants wholesale from $45 to $850, making its jewelry affordable and easy to layer.

"It's all about simple and pure things," Dessemond said. "A gold wire, a chain, a disc — it's affordable, it's everyday. I always hear my customers say, 'I forgot my disc this morning, I feel naked.'"

The brand also does a big custom-design business because its flat-disc pendants are perfect for monogramming. Those pieces, with the engraving cost included, run from $300 to $565.

Dessemond has been working with the same small team of designers since the beginning of her business when "going to work" meant cramming into her Brooklyn apartment. She also has a small collection of vintage pieces, such as engagement rings from the Thirties that run between $300 to $400 depending on the stone's weight. Other one-of-a-kind, vintage pieces retail from $300. She feels these collections are on par with the theme of the brand.

"Most of my jewelry is inspired by the past," Dessemond said. "It's very modern, like New York, but I also keep my French influence."

The Ginette NY shop also retains a touch of French influence, looking as much like a Montmartre jazz bar as a jewelry store. Its earthy tones, stools and coffee-table books make for a good shopping rest point.

"We wanted to make it like a jewelry bar," Dessemond said. "You can have an espresso, sit down, read a book. You don't even have to buy anything."

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