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Located on one of the most recognized streets in the Vieux Carre, Wellington & Company Fine Jewelry (505 Royal St., 525-4855; www.wcjewelry.com) provides quality antique, estate and modern jewelry to shoppers from New Orleans and around the world.
"We have a huge variety," says owner Tom Whisnant. "There's something for everyone who walks in the door."
As a graduate gemologist and third-generation store owner, Whisnant is a knowledgeable resource about fine and antique jewelry.
"My family had been, and actually still is, in the antique business," Whisnant says. "My wife and I both have a passion for jewelry, and our business has really grown."
The store carries a premium selection of antique, estate and contemporary jewelry, including antique engagement rings, estate watches from Cartier and Rolex, South Sea pearls and precious stones. It also offers a range of prices from $25 to $150,000 to accommodate its diverse clientele.
"We work really hard to bring the right products with the best prices, and pass that along to our customers," Whisnant says. "People are always amazed by our selection."
Wellington & Company is an exclusive retailer of Thistle & Bee, a sophisticated collection of sterling silver and 18-karat gold jewelry, and Blu, an enchanting collection by Betty Lou Moscot, an award-winning designer whose pieces were featured in Sex and the City 2.
"We look for designers that are different, that haven't been in the market before and that will reach a range of customers," Whisnant says.
In addition to showcasing selected designers, the company produces many of its own custom designs.
"We do a lot of manufacturing ourselves, and most of our modern jewelry is our design," he says. Orders for engagement rings dominate the shop's custom work, and turnaround time is generally 10 days to two weeks.
"People go for the modern ring that has an antique feel, and today, with technology, you can make it look identical to anything you want," Whisnant says. "It's really amazing."
Whisnant and his wife/business partner Brandy are enthusiastic about their work. "I think for us, it's the customers and being part of special moments," Whisnant says. "It's also just a great business where you meet people from all over the world and you get to see some amazing pieces (of jewelry)."