Published on February 13th, 2014 | by Katy Evans


A Tacoma Valentine: buy local jewelry, not chocolate diamonds

There are a lot of untruths out there about the feelings and expectations that correspond with certain holidays, especially those perpetuated nearly entirely to encourage consumerism.

So first off, BOOOOO, Valentine’s Day. Spending money out of obligation to conform to some sort of idea of romance is downright insulting to us, to love, and to you. Don’t do it. Show love because you want to and because you can; and do it at any goddamn time you want.

But, BUT – maybe you’re feeling amorous and have developed an appreciation for one* who would not be angry if they were to receive a token of your affection; and perhaps you are just now, in this month, attempting to find a way to be demonstrative of these feelings? You know what? That’s absolutely okay.

Here I take a bold stance and declare that many of us appreciate embellishments (oh, we also, nearly all of us, like eating). In fact, very many of us do not hate the idea of someone giving us something sparkly. As in jewelry (and maybe feeding us).

Subsequently: you can buy good-looking jewelry right here, right now in Tacoma, much of it made by local artists! Ready to take the next brave step to acquiring and giving your favorite person something cool to wear? Do it like this:

1. I know that giving a woman (or man) jewelry can be massively intimidating. The key is to both prepare and not over-think. So, first, look at their jewelry to discern what they like – typically we will like getting more of what we already have. If you have never seen her wear a bracelet, chances are she doesn’t really want them. Does she have a ludicrous earring or (finger) ring collection? It’s totally acceptable to get her more. Does she seem to have a penchant for gawdy, huge necklaces featuring chains and animal heads? Yes, she can always have another one of those.

2. Go to the local businesses listed below and buy shiny things, and don’t feel bad if you are more comfortable spending $20 than $2,000.

3. Are you not married? Do you not want to accidentally find yourself engaged? Then do not make a huge deal out of gift presentation. Such emphasis can justifiably confuse and possibly terrify your beloved if the gift box looks suspiciously as if it may contain a Ring.

Urban X Change, 1932 Pacific Ave, Monday-Thursday: 11am-6pm, Friday-Saturday: 11am-7pm, Sunday: 11am-5pm

($5 – $200)

Brooke and Nick carry lots of excellent vintage pieces as well as locally-made jewelry, notably the distinctive signature pieces from Miki Drake, created for her brand SVNLIGHTS.

svnlights jewelry

A selection of Drake’s SVNLIGHTS pieces

Moss + Mineral, 305 S 9th St, Thursday – Saturday: noon – 5 pm, and by appointment

($300 – $2,000)

Artist Lisa Kinoshita works in both large and small formats, and lucky for us, her smaller work is regularly wearable. Lisa is the original Tacoma statement-piece crafter: her beautiful, fearless, and eye-catching pieces never fail to garner an almost embarrassing number of compliments. At Moss + Mineral you can find pieces by Lisa as well as by other Northwest jewelers and makers like Virginia Bunker and Regina Chang.

Kinoshita Chang Bunker

From left to right, necklace by Lisa Kinoshita, cuff by Regina Chang, necklace by Virginia Bunker. Pieces similar to these can be found at Moss + Mineral.

Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum, Downtown Tacoma

($20 – $2,000)

Museum stores are regularly reliable places to find excellent jewelry. Both of these institutions have really great museum shops filled with very good-looking accessories; you can’t go wrong.


Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum

Compass Rose Tacoma , 3815 North 26th Street , Monday to Friday 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday 11 am to 5 pm

($10 – 2,000)

This place has it all, and by “it all,” I mean a shit ton of gorgeous, gorgeous jewelry. The jewelry section spans nearly the entire center of the store, front to back, and it is so expansive, sparkly, delightful, creative, and unique, that you will have to ask the nice staff for help navigating.

Compas Rose Northend journal

Photo by Rebecca Young,

No, of course you do not need to give jewelry to prove your love. But now you know you can with competence. Aren’t choices great?

*Jewelry can be for anyone – it’s not just ladies fun.


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About the Author

Founder and Co-Managing Editor at Post Defiance, Katy writes and fundraises for Tacoma. Follow her @katynicoud.

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