Tiina Smith has relocated her vintage jewelry gallery to 33 Newbury Street, amid Boston’s cluster of luxury jewelry stores.
The 1,200-square-foot gallery, officially opening Sept. 22 but in business since early August, is just across the street from Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari and Cartier — all luxury brands that her gallery carries.
The Tiina Smith Jewelry gallery is sandwiched between the Galerie d’Orsay and Valentino, and near The Newbury Boston, a historic hotel originally a Ritz-Carlton, renamed Taj Boston, and reopened last May after being renovated and renamed again. Newbury Street is Boston’s version of New York’s Madison Avenue.
Smith’s gallery had been located at 121 Newbury Street for two years. “We realized The Newbury would be opening and wanted to capitalize on being next to a lot of jewelry stores,” Smith told WWD. “People may walk into Van Cleef and not find what they want but then they could walk into us and find beautiful pieces of Van Cleef vintage jewelry.
“We also got a longer lease arrangement, and our lease at 121 Newbury was up at the end of August,” she said, noting the new location has an exterior display window and is “a more secure space.”
“It’s a parlor-style setup that looks more like a ladies’ club rather than a commercial establishment,” said Smith.
Natural light flows through the front and there is a separate back salon for private showings and appointments. To adorn the space, Smith imported a 1940s Murano glass flower mirror from Italy, a custom Oomph table with what Smith considers her signature blue, two gilt chairs from a Hollywood estate, and a 1919 Henry Rittenberg painting.
She’s rounding out her offering by introducing collectible objects, including a sterling silver Bulgari tennis ball can, a hand-held mirror by French mid-century ceramic artist Mithé Espelt, and a paperweight created by Paul J. Stankard, an American glassmaker.
For the official opening on Sept. 22, fashion illustrator Manuel Santelices will be at the gallery discussing his work. The Chilean artist has created a calendar look book of original illustrations that include jewelry pieces sold at the Tiina Smith gallery but he’s made a game out of it, like a treasure hunt, challenging viewers to find the jewelry he depicts in the illustrations. Santelices will make a return engagement at the gallery on Sept. 23.
Smith, a former tennis star at Harvard College, attended Harvard Business School and worked in mergers and acquisitions for Lazard Frères and later at Morgan Stanley as a portfolio manager. For much of her life she collected fine jewelry and decided to parlay her passion into a business. Smith also has a degree from the Gemological Institute of America, so for her, learning is a never-ending process.
“Central to our philosophy on showing and selling vintage jewelry is the role of education,” Smith said. “We have done a number of events and will continue that in the new space. My gallery is for like-minded people who love jewelry, like to share ideas and like to drink Champagne.”