From Sofia Jewelry and Lulu Designs Jewelry to Moonstruck Fine Jewelry and Poet and/the Bench, Mill Valley has long been home to some of the best jewelers in the Bay Area.
One more joined the fray this year, as California Girl Jewelry, which specializes in rare, colored gemstone fine jewelry, opened within Strawberry Village.
The mother-daughter duo of Mariellen Baker and Denise Forbes say they’re thrilled to be in the 94941 after five years near San Francisco’s Union Square.
Originally from the Hudson Valley region of New York, Baker first moved to California in 2000 to work at a tech firm during the first dot-come wave. When that startup joined the legions of others that went bust, Baker focused her attention on her love of art, and leaned on decades-long collection of colored gemstones.
Forbes arrived in 2003 and decided to take classes at the Gemological Institute of America, as Baker began designing her own jewelry and regularly attending gem shows and InterGem jewelry shows throughout the Bay Area. Relying on their dedication to creative uses of “high-quality, colored, rare gemstones you won’t find anywhere else,” Forbes says, and steadfast customer service, Baker and Forbes built their SF shop into a juggernaut, located in an Art Deco building near the Powell Street BART station that was “a hidden gem unto itself,” Forbes says.
The pandemic made the duo think about a relocation, Forbes says, and they were drawn to the former Title Nine space in Strawberry Village. “The outside of the building was out brand color, and the giant window in front stopped us in our tracks,” Forbes says. “You could see our colored gemstones really pop in all that natural light.”
What sealed it was one of a leftover quote from tennis legend Billie Jean King on the walls of Title Nine: “Pressure is a privilege.”
“You have to take risks, and we already had a lot of customers in Marin – so we dove in,” Forbes says. “Our goal is to be the best.”