PUTNEY >> After a 22-year journey of owning the downtown business, Offerings Jewelry, the owners are closing their retail doors and moving entirely online.
Ever since the business moved from the building next to the General Store to a small building just a ways up Kimball Hill, the retail business began to dwindle. Though the doors will be closing in downtown Putney, business owners Marianna and Richard Jacobs will continue to sell their unique jewelry at their website, offeringsjewelry.com.
"Our business has survived three fires, some hardship with Silver Forest closing, the bakery closing several times and the General Store being closed for a period of time," said Marianna. "It's just gotten to the point where this is not a retail location anymore and the traffic and economy can't support the store."
The store's last day is Jan. 24, and the building will go on sale in March. Its history dates back to 1987 when Richard, a recent Yale graduate, received a Luce Scholarship to teach painting for one year in Bali, Indonesia. His wife, Marianna, travelled with him, where she studied dance and the ways of a silversmith. In her work, she soon began to act as a broker for European exporting. By the time they left Bali in 1988, she started up their business, Offerings Jewelry. One of the many aspects of Balinese culture that influenced the Jacobs was the daily tradition of making exquisite "offerings" to appease the gods and to create balance – hence the store's name. The Balinese word for "Offerings" is "Sajen" which is the trademark for their jewelry.
The business first moved to Putney about 22 years ago where they sold this unique jewelry. Their pieces have been a collaboration between themselves as designers who hand draw every design, and the jewelers in Bali and Jaipur, as well as Mother Earth as the "healing stones" they use in their jewelry. This idea of energy healing is an area where Marianna hopes to focus her attention with her own transformative energy healing practice that she is growing.
"It is a very subtle and gentle way of helping absolutely anybody release energy around things that had bothered them, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," said Marianna. "Or it can be something as simple as someone being humiliated in Kindergarten and now having social insecurities – they're all kind of stemmed into old experiences that have affected them somehow."
Her new business is based on the healing practice of the Q'ero people in Peru and the practices that she has learned during her time in Bali and India throughout the years. In relation to this healing, Marianna says the genetic map plays a big role in the strength behind it because "science has proven" that humans are not "committed" to their genes. She says her healing practice moves a person's energy, allowing the individual the ability to change their genetic makeup, which she says helps redeem balance. She notes that this may improve a person's immune system or chronic pains; it does not cure them, but has the power to heal.
In addition to her healing practice Marianna will focus her attention on creating what she calls more unique design pieces. Richard will focus on his work as an abstract painter.
Marianna says that over the years she has enjoyed introducing people to unique gemstones and educating people about symbology and indigenous crafts. She said she has found extreme value in the work of the artisan and feels grateful to have been able to share that with the greater community.
"This day and age where everything is cookie-cutter, it's wonderful to be able to work alongside a work of jewelers, stone cutters, and stone sources and be able to support and as well as encourage their knowledge and their craft," said Marianna.
Though the business will continue online, Marianna admits that there are many aspects of her career in Putney that she will miss.
"I'm sad because I'll miss the interaction with people of the town, it's a really important aspect of the business," said Marianna. "I also really appreciate the support of the community; unfortunately, I just don't think it has the sure numbers to support it enough, so we've had to simplify."
Marianna is not the only one who will miss her downtown business; her friend and employee Jan Ori expressed her deep sadness to see the business leave the center of town.
"Other than the fact that I admire with everything in me their loyalty to Putney and incredible artistry, I don't think you can find more beautiful jewelry anywhere," said Ori. "Their dedication to their art and community has been phenomenal, and it's really sad that we're closing."
Through the sadness of saying good bye to one of Putney's only retail stores that survived 22 years, Marianna gives her thanks to the community and is excited to have time to focus diligently on the website, her healing practice and creating more unique design pieces.
"A big part for us was our employees, we were like a big extended family and I'll miss that the most as well as the community that supported us," said Marianna. "But I'm hoping through the website that that can continue."