CAVALIER – COOL JEWELS
Written by: Tobin Wait.
One of the coolest new spaces in Gastown is not a clothing store, or a restaurant, or a cafe, It's a jewelry store. That's right, a jewelry store. But Cavalier is not like most jewelry stores, with their stodgy atmospheres, pompous attitudes, and only-for-the-rich wares. Cavalier, like the name suggests, is cool and fresh, and geared toward a younger market.
The shoppe is the brainchild of two twenty-something jewelers and childhood friends: Dane Stevens, who has been in the gem business since high school (and who also plays bass in local rock band, Tough Lovers); and Keith Seabrook, a former hockey player and trained jeweler (and brother of Chicago Black Hawk defenceman, Brent Seabrook). Using their experience and imagination, they have created a jewelry store that is stylish, inviting and modern. It opened on July 6 of 2013, and has already established itself as one of the top boutique jewelry stores in Vancouver.
One of the first things you notice when you enter is the sleek, modern design: exposed brick, wood and white walls dominate. The display cases are simple in their construction, designed to show off the beautiful jewelry inside, a perfect combination of local and international designers. And what jewelry store would be complete without the lounge area, with a red leather couch, a fully stocked bar, and a fridge full of Stanley Park Lager? It’s all part of the Cavalier experience.
“We wanted to give the space a West Coast feel, and make it fun, with the lounge area, and have it big enough to hold events.” Stevens tells me.
Stevens and Seabrook knew they had to be unique in what they were offering, to set them apart from the more established (and stereotypical) jewelry stores. A big part of that is the design of the space, but it doesn't end there. Emphasizing local designers was something very important to Cavalier from the beginning, as was being involved with local charities.
“We have 14 local designers,” says Stevens, “and each one has a local charity that is important to them, and we donate 5% of each sale to their chosen charity.”
Showcasing local artisans and partnering with local businesses is Cavalier's way of giving back to the community that houses them. They also hold non-profit events at the store, catered by local and Eastside companies, as a way of spreading goodwill and giving back to the community.
As for the jewelry itself, the pieces on display at Cavalier are a wonderful and eclectic assortment of fine jewelry. Watches, rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants, a balanced combination of artisan and classic, local and established. There is literally something for everyone, and for everyone's budget.
Another large part of Cavalier's business is custom designing. If you need a piece tweaked to fit your needs and wants, Cavalier has an upstairs manufacturing space, with three full time, experienced craftsmen working every day producing and customizing jewelry. And like many jewelers, Cavalier also wholesales to other jewelry stores in Vancouver and cities all over the world. Despite their young age, Stevens and Seabrook have a wealth of knowledge, and a solid understanding of what it takes to succeed in the jewelry business.
“I feel blessed to be able to do this at a young age and to have this opportunity,” says Stevens. In fact, their youth may also be an advantage in the new world of marketing and social media on which many of today's business must now rely. And any jewelry store equipped with a fridge full of Stanley Park Lager is doing something right.
It may only be the beginning, but the future looks bright for Cavalier.