As in her jewelry, Elizabeth Locke’s flagship store, shown here, abounds with Italianate touches like plasterwork ceilings.
Elizabeth Locke’s flagship jewelry store, The Other Elizabeth, certainly doesn’t resemble the other businesses in quaint Boyce, Virginia. The façade is festooned with Moorish-style windows and inside, intricate plasterwork decorates the ceiling. Italianate touches are apparent not only in the architecture of her boutique, but also in her jewelry: Locke often incorporates ancient coins into her sought-after pieces.
But her path to becoming one of the most acclaimed jewelers in the tristate area was circuitous. After growing up in Staunton, Virginia, Locke traveled extensively and operated a furniture accessories business in Italy before returning home in 1975. In 1988, she was writing for Town & Country and was dispatched to Bangkok. “I found a group of very talented goldsmiths making really unattractive jewelry,” she says. “That was the impetus for starting my business; I thought that their efforts were not being put to good use.” Soon after, she moved to New York City to study gemology.
Small centaur Venetian glass intaglio pendant necklace in 19k hand-hammered gold ($3,225).
A visitor to The Other Elizabeth will no doubt find many beautiful things: Locke’s 19k gold pieces have a soft, hammered finish and are complemented by colored stones. “I love anything in the spinel or tourmaline family,” she says.
For her spring collection, Locke was drawn to the color blue. “On a recent trip to Bangkok I saw these enchanting pools that captured the most vibrant shades of cerulean, which inspired me to incorporate the hue into our intaglio pieces,” she says. And she lets the gems lead her, not the other way around. “What I design is completely dependent upon the stones that I buy,” she says. “I just design things that I would want to wear myself.”
Women the world over clamor for Locke’s pieces. She even counts Elizabeth Taylor as one of her line’s early aficionados, and her jewels are also stocked across the country in Neiman Marcus stores. With prices starting around $1,000 and climbing to $30,000, there’s an item for almost every budget.
While the designer admits to hardly getting to unpack her suitcase due to her heavy travel schedule—including about three months a year at her workshop in Bangkok—she adores returning home to bucolic Boyce. “I truly have the best of both worlds,” she says. “Isolation for creativity and easy access to the world.” The Other Elizabeth, 17 E. Main St., Boyce, VA, 540-837-3088