Citizen Tribeca | New kid on the block: Greenwich St. Jewelers

The sisters who own and rule Jewelers of Greenwich St. didn’t see themselves first in their parents’ business. “We were raised to do what we wanted,” says Jennifer Gandia. She and her sister, Christina Gandia Gambale, had helped in the shop as children – wrapping gifts, cleaning jewelry, entering inventory in a handwritten binder – and pursued other careers first. “But this bird went home at some point.”

Now they’ve set up shop at 93 Reade – the store’s third location since it opened in a small space at 118a Greenwich St. in 1976. Their father, Carl, learned the trade in Puerto Rico and when he came to the United States, he found work making wax models for rings. He and Milly, who handled buying and selling, took over the store from another couple, refining the selection and earning a reputation as custom jewelry designers. (If you like to watch jewelry even a little, follow their Instagram.)

Jennifer went to FIT and worked in fashion PR and marketing; Christina worked in finance. The couple returned to help their parents after 9/11, when the store was forced to close for 10 months, everyone believing it was temporary. Their parents thought the girls’ lives would be easier if they worked for someone else at a 9 to 5.

“After that, we didn’t leave again, and not in a bad way. I fell in love with jewelry and helped people experience the most special moments of their lives,” said Jennifer, who joined the company in 2003.

Christina had a penchant for entrepreneurship early on: She sold scrunchies in middle school, giving her mother sewing orders as they came. She joined the company in 2007, earning her graduate degree in gemology from GIA, the school founded here in 1931. “We really respect everyone’s strengths,” says Christina. “I’m very left-handed.” Jennifer adds: “I’m very creative and not very structured. I know my limits.

The result, they say, is like puzzle pieces falling into place. “It’s an amazing fit,” says Jennifer.

The move to Tribeca was natural. They wanted more of a community space, and a bigger one, but also wanted to maintain the connection to their downtown roots. “Our parents have really done a service to the work community there,” Christina said. “And when that changed, we started imagining something new.” They looked around Soho and Noho and nothing seemed right until they landed here.

They rented this space three years ago and designed it to feel both cozy and luxurious, intimate and unpretentious, commissioning new art and murals just for the space and restoring the original architectural features. “It’s like a very posh railroad apartment,” Jennifer said.

It’s worth coming just to see – and their staff are so friendly they would welcome a visit. The back wall was created by Mason Nye Murals of Brooklyn, and there’s a gorgeous painting by East Village artist Rosalie Knox, represented by Chart Gallery, made from nail polish. “We wanted nods to New York City and New York City grit,” Christina said. Maori Hughes of MAOarch Architecture has found the luster.

The shop has a curated selection of independent designers – each with their own space in the store – but they offer many of their own lines, create custom pieces and – in what is perhaps their most unique service – they recreate or better yet, reinvent heritage pieces. They have two master jewelers on staff.

Their own jewelry collections, of course, are important – which might help each other given their trade. They both like to mix the old with the new; Christina wears her father’s original earring that he made for himself. He died four years ago and their mother is now retired.

For now, they’re catching their breath after the move, settling in and putting down roots, but the plan is to eventually use the space to host events. And maybe prepare the next generation. Christina’s two young daughters made bracelets last summer and sold them on the beach. “It’s an apple tree story,” she said.

Jewelers of Greenwich St.
93 Read | Church and West Broadway
Tuesday – Friday: 11-7
Saturday: 11-6 (engagement consultations by appointment only)

About Johnnie Gross

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