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Elizabeth Miller - Gentlemen start your Engines

Posted on Dec 16,2008
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community,

Liz Miller

Every year, the ritual is about the same. A few days before Christmas, beleaguered, time-pressed husbands rush into jewelry stores looking for baubles. The sinking economy withstanding, this year may be no different.
But this Holiday season, the venerable Old Town jeweler is allowing men to shop from home or their offices,as celebrated gemologist, designer and owner of Mystique Jewelers, Elizabeth Mandros Miller,

rolls out the boutique's e-commerce enabled web site,
Mystique Jewelers is a treasured fine jewelry boutique for customers in Old Town, the District and Maryland.  "Everything local customers have loved about Mystique Jewelers is now available to everyone on our new e-commerce-enabled web site," Miller said.
The web site includes search by designer, jewelry type or price, custom navigation, important basic jewelry information about diamonds, tips on how to buy a diamond, special savings and events such as designer trunk shows.
"I'm a gemologist, and I'm a jewelry designer, as well," Miller said recently. "I've also done just about everything one can do in this business. I've been a buyer, I've sold diamonds on the road, I've owned my own diamond company — a family business that specialized in finished stones — I've designed, and my goldsmith and I have designed jewelry for Sheila Johnson's company."

Like a lot of jewelers, Miller said that she has strong ideas about what she wants to sell. "I like to sell classic, jewelry...individual, unusual, different," she said. "Everybody wants to be a little different, so why buy fads? I think jewelry is timeless."

Miller sees changes in the way that women wear their jewelry. "Today, everybody wants something that they can wear," she explained. "Now there's diamond jewelry that you can wear to the grocery store, to pick up your kids from school. There's jewelry that you can wear on the golf course. It used to be that jewelry was worn only on special occasions, but today, it's entirely different."

The Old Town boutique has a certain feel to it, by design. "I want to have a living room kind of atmosphere," Miller said. "I want people to feel comfortable the moment they walk in the door. And we decided that the store was going to have a 'hunt' flair, but not the traditional Middleburg fox hunt kind of flair. Here, we decided to have an African hunt flair, so you see the elephants in the pictures on the walls, and the spears over the door. We describe it as a 'Seychelles' kind of a flair."

The store carries all the traditional items that one finds in jewelry stores in the area, save one. "We don't carry watches," Miller said.

What she does carry comes from a number of designers, including herself. "Most of the pieces that I do go right out the door," she said. "They're custom-designed. But we have pieces from about 20 designers. I have to really search because I'm really picky. I've been in Thailand and bought jewelry there. I've been in Brazil and bought jewelry there. I like having the rapport of people who know me in the industry.

"We're selling some designs that are ancient, BC," she continued. "I'm going to a jewelry show in Tucson in February that features loose stones and finished jewelry, and all the trends are from history."

The store carries other inventory besides jewelry. "We also carry gift items," Miller said. "We're always going to have something for that special gift."

The store features regular events such as designer trunk shows. "We try to do something different all the time," Miller said. "Sometimes we will have a wine tasting or a truck show, and it ends up being a party. We're always looking at ways to get people out, to give them something to do in Old Town."

Mystique in Old Town has been open for 16 years. Ancient history aside, Miller said Mystique has items for just about everybody, at most price ranges. "This is not an exclusive store," she explained.


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