Nothing says luxury like fine gold or silver jewellery and nothing says reveling in the fashionista lifestyle like Toronto. Filled with diamond stores, jewellery buyers, Canadian outlets for the most prestigious retailers, Toronto has become the hub for exquisite jewellery, whether your tastes lean towards the simple and refined or closer to the artistic and risqué.
Toronto’s relationship with jewellery makers gained momentum in 1946 when the Metal Arts Guild was formed. Its goal was to “to promote and encourage the cultural and commercial development of metal arts and crafts both ferrous and non-ferrous.” The Guild evolved to function as an organizer of visiting artists and lecturers and it also hosted the Society of North American Goldsmiths conference in 1985.
In the 1970s, jewellery in Canada began to gain more prominence, as it did around the world. What turned heads in Toronto was “Jewellery, 71,” the first international exhibition of contemporary jewellery in the city. The show was organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and curated by Renée Neu of New York, a member of the curatorial staff of the Museum of Modern Art, who had run the 1967 exhibition “Jewellery by Contemporary Painters and Sculptors.” It was the first time that Canadian jewellery had been included in such a showcase. Of 118 artists shown, 36 were Canadians, which further elevated the country’s jewellery to experts and buyers around the world.
Many colleges in Toronto began to educate students on jewllery design. 1967, the Sheridan College School of Craft and Design was established, and Haakon Baaken (from the School of American Craftsmen) was hired to set up the jewellery program. Metalsmith Magazine writes about the school: “The Bauhaus rigours taught by instructors who were also prominent working artists, combined with arms-length policy from the main campus, created an unparalleled atmosphere.”
Canadian-designed jewellery began to find a home at three main areas in Toronto: Yorkville, Yonge and Dundas and Eglinton and Warden. Close to Eaton Centre on Yonge Street, several diamond sellers set up shop to offer Torontonians a one-stop street to peruse the various stones available for engagement rings, necklaces and much more.
The Yorkville area has shifted from its 60s roots as hippie central to a chic and style-heavy region of the city known for lavender lattes and celebrity sightings. Yorkville is home to many established jewellery buyers, such as Muzeum, and also the base for well-known jewellery and diamond retailers, such as Serli & Siroan, Royal Des Versailles Jewellery, Maison Birks and, of course, Tiffany’s.
One of the most reputable jewellery brands, Tiffany’s opened its Toronto flagship store in 2013, spanning two floors and 11,100 square feet at 150 Bloor Street West. It is the largest Tiffany & Co. store in Canada, and one of the highest-selling in North America, according to media reports.
Toronto is also swelling with many other high-end jewellery outlets such as Birks, Cartier, People’s, Chanel and Louis Vitton.
Give Love to the Little Guys
But it’s not just the headline-grabbing brands that make Toronto the jewellery capital of Canada. Independent jewelers, all 25 of them, have taken over the region of Eglinton and Warden in uptown Toronto to form what is called the Golden Mile Jewellery Exchange. As its website explains, “Most of our jewellers are family operated businesses, often second or third generation jewellers, occupying booths or kiosks.”
Many startups have gained ground in the Big Smoke. Direct to-consumer fine jewellery brand Oremme has set up shop in Toronto, as well as Mejuri. On the latter, founder Noura Sakkijha told the Globe & Mail: “Mejuri was created to move away from the notion that fine jewellery is for occasions and towards the notion that fine jewellery is for whenever you want. By focusing on establishing a brand that provides fairly priced, high-quality pieces, we have redefined fine jewellery as something within reach for both big milestones and everyday moments.”
Also, Torontonians Susan Shaw and Melissa Gobeil founded Attic Gold in 2016 after listening to friends complain about the lack of everyday pieces on the market. Today, the Toronto brand sells classics such as gold hoops, signet rings and bangles, which are made using locally sourced, recycled and new 14-karat gold.
Other independent jewellers and designers include Armed Jewelry (which makes, among other things, durable pendants with stones from Arizona), Wild Moon Jewelry (whose pieces are made only from recycled glass beads), and Maison Raksha, whose upscale clientele list include Post Malone and Joey Bada$$.
Toronto is also the HQ for Muzeum, which sells jewellery but also buys gold and fine jewellery from people looking for a high rate of return for their valuables. The company also offers a free jewellery cleaning service for those who may have their items lying around for a long time.
The city is so enamoured with jewellery that one enterprising designer wanted to commemorate the transit token with its own special necklace. In 2018, Samantha McAdams created a custom, handmade, sterling silver necklace with a token as its pendant.
Wherever you look on Toronto, you’ll find a city embracing its haut couture and love of fine design, whether that’s in the clothes people ware or the gold adorning their fingers. If you’re a fan of jewellery and luxurious fashion, this is a city full of businesses and designers whose products glimmer and sparkle with the flair you’d expect from the jewellery capital of Canada.
If you have jewellery or other gold or silver items you’re looking to sell,contact the precious-metals specialists at Muzeum anytime for a free consultation.
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