Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.
Love of Mine (781 Queen St. W., 416-368-4999, loveofmineboutique.com)
Anna Damelin’s infallible inner compass has made Love of Mine the coolest place to buy jewellery in Toronto. Her multi-faceted store is a collection of her favourite things from her heart to yours. Upon entering, a wall of colourful ceramic butterflies welcome you, while Alexis Bittar and Wendy Nichol pieces sparkle delicately in the distance.
A few of my loves? The kitschy pop-up, pavé diamond skull and bowtie rings that Anna brought back from New York, along with a pair of golden chicken feet by Swallow that are absolutely useless and irresistibly charming.
What’s the idea behind Love of Mine?
“I’ve always liked so many different things, and I just decided to put them all together. In Love of Mine, everything is curated—everything in here is hand-picked by me. I only pick things that I would love and cherish, and would have hanging on my own wall at home, or would wear on myself. It’s very personalized here.”
What are the most exotic and unexpected pieces currently in stock?
“The pieces by Swallow are phenomenal. She does the gold-plated heart paperweight, but not a cutesy heart, it’s like an actual biological heart. Stunning. The most unexpected piece I have in store right now is also from her collection. My husband thought I was completely crazy for having ordered them—they are two chicken feet, dipped in gold. That’s it. They don’t have a function; they don’t hang, they’re too light to be paperweights, they’re just there. And you know what? People love them! I keep selling out of these chicken legs. Who would’ve thought!”
How do you choose which designers are represented in the store?
“I try to support as many designers possible, because I feel that there’s a lot of amazing jewellery out there that we’re missing out on. I live part-time in New York City, and one day I was walking around SoHo and this vendor on the side of the road had the most beautiful pieces. I went right up to him and offered to sell his pieces in my store. I have people coming in here all the time showing me their stuff. I love it. I find it so productive to work this way, as opposed to ordering online or from a wholesaler.”
When you were a buyer for Gypsy, you travelled the world in search of accessories. How did you know that branching out on your own was the right thing?
“I’ve always sort of known that I wanted to do this. But the turning point for me was when I had a baby. I basically had to decide whether I wanted to go back to work or to open up my store, and I decided it was finally time to do it. Even though the economy was horrible at the time, I just went for it. You know, entrepreneurship—just go!”
In terms of location, was Queen West a given?
“Yes, absolutely. I live around here, shop around here; I really like the vibe around here because there are so many independent boutiques. At the same time there aren’t many jewellery stores so I thought I’d bring something a bit different to the scene.”
Do you find it difficult to distinguish Love of Mine from the Tiffany-style monopoly that’s currently dominating the Toronto jewellery scene?
“Yes and no. I think that the pieces one finds at stores like Tiffany aren’t really what my customers are interested in. My client base ranges from 17 to 70, and each person that comes in has got a sense of what looks good on them and what they like. Most of the time, my customers already know that they don’t want to wear something mainstream and super trendy. I also only stock one or two of each item so that people can be pretty much guaranteed that no one else will have the same piece.”
Do you believe in mixing silver and gold?
“Yes. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. That rule has gone out the window—the more kinds of metal the better.”
On your website it says you carry the infamous “Carrie” necklaces like in Sex and the City—is this true?
“Yes! I have a jeweller that I send the orders to and they can make your name necklace, as well as a double finger ring in about a week or so. There’s even the option for those who have an “I” in their name to get the dot in a diamond or precious stone. I’m doing a lot of work in custom pieces—it’s definitely something we’re going to keep on doing here.”
You’re also beginning to stock bridal jewellery, which is something you don’t see a lot of in independent boutiques. What’s your advice for choosing jewellery for the big day?
“I’m so excited to be getting involved in bridal jewelry and accessories! On the big day, I think the most important thing is that the bride is comfortable. A lot of women tend to veer towards the extravagant, bling side of things on their wedding day, but I would just prefer to be comfortable and feel like myself. When you wear a piece that you wouldn’t normally wear, you become so self-conscious that you begin to play with it or adjust it compulsively.”
What’s on the horizon for jewellery trends in the fall?
“Right now the stud is really big, which you can see in the store in Wendy Nichol’s pyramid pieces. For fall, there is a sense of gothic in the pieces I’m seeing. I’ve already ordered a necklace that has a dagger as the pendant and I’ve got a lot of pieces with skulls on them, which are coming in soon. The stud will be worn right into the next season with a darker, edgier tone.”
Below, Anna Damelin in front of Love of Mine, and other pics from inside the store. All photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.
Read about LAB Consignment, My Favourite Dresses, and other hot shops in our Style Map section!