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North Loop’s Filigree Jewelers offers one-of-a-kind finds

Updated: October 10, 2018 - 11:23 am

Boutique jeweler doesn’t move far — one block — with new store

Catherine and Brent Thies like to call themselves “luxury recyclers.”

As the co-owners of Filigree Jewelers, the two have specialized in finding and restoring one-of-a-kind engagement rings, wedding bands and other vintage and modern jewelry. Brent likens their business to a renovating homes. If a piece has good bones — say, something in yellow gold or the Art Deco style — the two can bring it back to its former glory.

“If you’re going to restore an old house, you want to make sure to examine it really well to start with so you know that it can be restored back to original. A lot of times if someone has remodeled, I don’t buy it,” Brent said.

Their rare jewelry business has kept them among the historic warehouses of the North Loop where Filigree — a word referring to the delicate, ornate metalwork of the jewelry — has recently reopened in a new 2,500-square-foot space. The store, located inside the former C’est Chic storefront in the Whitney Square Lofts building, consolidates Filigree’s main store and MartinPatrick3 counter inside the Colonial Warehouse building just down the block.

Filigree's second-story bridal section. Submitted photo
Filigree’s second-story bridal section. Submitted photo

The new space features a second story — previously the women’s boutique’s shoe salon — where Filigree keeps its engagement ring and wedding band inventory. Catherine said the loft offers a private place to walk their clientele through what’s likely their first big jewelry purchase.

“We needed the space and time to be able to talk to them and educate them about what they were buying,” she said.

The main floor features an eclectic mix of jewelry, roughly half vintage or estate pieces and half modern custom pieces, much of which features repurposed gemstones, bands or other pieces. A mid-century diamond-studded gold bee pin from Herbert Rosenthal can be found near a Victorian necklace and diamond ring from 1880 or vintage pieces from high-end brands like Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels and more. Most items fall within the $1,000–$60,000 price range.

On the wall is a piece of an upright piano that Catherine said they plan to turn into the store's door bell. Submitted photo
On the wall is a piece of an upright piano that Catherine said they plan to turn into the store’s door bell. Submitted photo

What’s common among them, Brent said, is craftsmanship and personality.

“It’s really hard to make two things by hand that are exactly the same,” he said.

Much of Filigree’s inventory features yellow gold, which Catherine said is extremely in demand, especially in the Art Deco style, a time period when white gold, not yellow gold, was the most popular.

“They’re so few and far between,” she said. “We sell them quickly and often.”

Filigree is planning to expand its inventory with its own line to fill unmet demand in the market for designer boutique jewelry. Brent said they plan to rollout engagement rings and wedding bands next year that will be modern interpretations of antique pieces.

The two have been doing business in Minneapolis for 10 years, including the past seven in the Colonial Warehouse building. They previously ran a high-end jewelry store in southern California before moving back to the Twin Cities where Brent is originally from. Catherine’s family — she hails from San Francisco — has been in the jewelry business since 1923.

Filigree Jewelers, at 210 N. 2nd St., is open 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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