Even in a recession, women still want jewelry. That’s why two friends decided to open Maine Line Design at 907 Warwick Avenue, which offers customers handmade jewelry created from natural gemstones, shells, wood, glass and crystals.
Whether it is an affordable necklace, bracelet, ring, barrette, hair comb or a set of earrings, everything is silver-plated or gold-plated and easy to maintain.
“It’s inexpensive and people still need their luxury items, especially girls,” said Catie Maine, a painter from South County who designs and crafts their merchandise. “With a lot of other jewelry, you have to throw it away because it gets tarnished over time, but our items all clean with regular jewelry cleaner.”
Maine operates the store with her friend of 12 years, Coral Daigneault, a Warwick native who said her interest in jewelry peaked after they decided to open. Her favorite are the rings.
“I just love them,” said Daigneault. “When I come into the store in the morning, I know that there is something that will match anything I’m wearing. I have fun picking through it.”
The women opened the shop last month after they developed a desire to start a “creative” project. That’s when Maine began making jewelry, which they decided to wear.
“People started seeing what we were wearing and said, ‘Ooh, I want some jewelry,’” Daigneault said.
This fact didn’t surprise her, as she thinks of Maine as one of the most talented people she knows.
“It’s incredible what she can do,” said Daigneault. “I pull out a drawer, put it in front of her and all of a sudden she’ll come up with something. It’s usually never the same. A majority of our pieces are one-of-a-kind. It’s really rare that we ever have the same stuff.”
Maine said she isn’t quite sure where her inspiration comes from. However, she credits her father for her creative side.
“My dad’s a contractor and he designs kitchens and does the craziest stuff,” she said. “I look at the jewelry and ideas just pop into my head. I start with something and just go with it. I think it will be one way and in the end it’s always something different.”
In fact, Maine designs jewelry per request, as well. As long as she is given enough notice, she can handcraft multiple pieces for specific events.
“If you’re not looking for any hairpieces, I can probably do it all in two or three weeks,” she said.
Further, since not all women have their ears pierced, a majority of the earrings can be converted to clip-ons. This service is free of charge.
While their bracelets aren’t free, some of the bangles are close to it, as they are priced at just 10 cents. The most expensive items they offer, decorative glass blocks, are $75.
“We were at Foxwoods and noticed they were using glass blocks as risers and I thought it was a really cool idea,” Maine said. “They are kind of rough and ugly around the edges so I wrapped the outside with ribbon. I wasn’t going to sell them at first but people were asking about them so I put a price on them. We don’t advertise them but if people want them I will sell them.”
In addition to jewelry and the decorative blocks, the women also sell bookmarks, wine charms and unique stemware, which Maine highlights with colorful aluminum wire. Not only can the stemware be used as toasting glasses, they can also serve as centerpieces for weddings, bridal showers, or other functions. They sell for $15 per glass.
“If someone orders an abundance, we’ll knock down the price,” Maine said. “You can’t put them in the dishwasher but they can be handwashed.”
They said with the holidays quickly approaching, their items make great gifts and they even do wrapping, complete with silver-plated charms. Daigneault said they hope to put up a Christmas tree in the next few weeks, as Maine is interested in making glass ornaments.
For now, they are planning a grand opening celebration and would like to let photography studios and theatres know they are willing to loan them jewelry to use in portraits and productions.
“After they have it for a couple weeks, they can bring it back and we can switch it up,” said Daigneault. “After they are done with it, we will put the pieces on display showing customers who wore it and in what play.”
They also want to assist local schools by hosting fundraisers in the future.
“These kids work really hard and if we can help them, I think that would be really great,” Daigneault said.