Bedford Avenue is the longest street in Brooklyn, New York City, stretching 10.2 miles and 132 blocks from Greenpoint south to Sheepshead Bay. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, immediately off the L subway line, the Bedford Avenue stop features a bevy of walkable, quaint, quirky, and small boutiques that will sell you (almost) anything. Since it ’tis the season to be shopping, here’s a peek into two of my favorite Williamsburg based jewelers and knickknack shops.
Catbird, located online and at 219 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211, is a mecca for all things sparkly and exciting. Our favorite things include non-traditional wedding rings, stacking rings, knuckle rings and a wide range of gifts such as terrariums, perfume, glassware, candlesticks, cards, water bottles, tooth fairy boxes, candles. Anything that someone in the board game CLUE employs, one will most likely find here. When I say “find”, I mean it. The store is setup like a pirate’s booty and treasure chest filled with trinkets interwoven with strange artifacts, forcing you to play detective. The layout is haphazard yet delicate and organic. The small space specializes in local designers (although they also carry items from designers all over the globe). The tiny space is a bit of quirky and feminine dreamscape.
Step into the space that is equal parts Downton Abbey meets farmhouse shabby chic meets 1950’s diner. Peruse the sliding drawers, the glass displays, and the shelves – everywhere you turn in this postage-stamp-sized storefront is brimming with a hidden find.
Tocca Perfume reigns supreme as an easy way to evoke any distinct character trait. Discover your favorite scents by trying the samples in the store such as Cleopatra, Stella, Florence, Brigitte, Graciella and Violette. My personal favorite is Brigitte, which is inspired by the playful and sensual beauty of French film siren Brigitte Bardot, Tocca’s fragrance evokes the intoxicating scent of a stroll through the spice markets of Provence. Tres chic! The little brass birds, wrapped in ribbon, would also make a perfection addition to a mantle-place or bookshelf.
Rodin by Recine creates tonics, lip balms, hair oils, face oils and candles with the seriousness of an ancient apothecary. The products are whipped up and infused with essential oils from apricot kernels, calendula, sunflower seed, sweet almond, neroli, jojoba, rosemary and juniper. It doesn’t get more natural and aromatic than that.
If only my wallet allowed, I would buy all the knuckle ringed, chain linked, hammered metals, animal skull inspired, black diamond flecked pieces that my little heart desired – but, alas! The paycheck of a not-for-profit employee is a wee bit limiting. There are many steals using brass, crystal and silver for under $100 but the best bargain and bang for your buck, in my humble opinion, is the Lanolin-Agg-Tval Swedish Eggwhite Soap. This $5 bar of soap has been a part of healthy skincare in Sweden for generations. Originally prepared at home by Swedish women, an egg white facial was a weekly tradition to maintain pure, radiant skin. Go get this bar and make your skin glow!
Flotsam and Jetsam is created by Rebekah Harris in New York City. Harris apprenticed under a silversmith and creates rock and roll silver jewelry. Many of her designs stem from a love of the ocean (hence the name) and a curiosity for the mysteries of the watery unknown. Flotsam and Jetsam speaks of the spoils cast over board and washed ashore, sculptural narratives whose stories invoke the desperate journeys of abandoned souls that dared to step aboard and sail into the realms of monsters, sudden squalls and shallow shoals. Whatever the company’s folklore may be, the pieces always pay homage to the artisan craftsmanship of the past with a modern edge.
Another jewelry favorite, that has much more of a DIY vibe, is Brooklyn Charm. Located at 145 Bedford Ave (between 10th St & 9th St) Brooklyn, NY 11211, the funky shop is filled to the brim with gold chains, strange overstock, wholesale beads, and pre-made creations. After building up a small-but-loyal fanbase through her flea market sales and Etsy store, jewelry designer Tracie Howarth opened this storefront on Bedford Avenue in March 2010.
The space also hosts metalworking, wire wrapping and other beading and jewelry making courses. No previous experience necessary! There is a large selection of letter charms, state charms, skulls, and all the supplies to create a one-of-a kind pieces. If you are not feeling so crafty and creatively inclined, bring your favorite parts to the cash register and the staff will assemble jewelry for you on the spot at the counter!
Arrows, spoons, globes, acorns, beetles, knives, alligators, and wood – oh my! You would be hard pressed to find something missing the eclectic array of charms that the shop offers.
Now, combining finds from the two lovely, aforementioned places, I bring you the Brooklyn holiday gift guide, where all items are $50 and under! Buy something for your teacher, lover, milkman, boss, distant cousin and fellow commuter. At prices like these, buy yourself a gift too!