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  • Guest Writer

A name to be trusted

There is an interesting history behind the fine jewelry store called “CLEOPATRA’S BARGE”. Originally from Bronxville, NY, Marilyn Janss moved to Naples with her husband in 1966 where they first had a gift store on Fifth Avenue South.

In 1967, Janss moved onto the “Big Dipper,” an 80 x 20, 80-ton displacement, 15-room, 3-deck houseboat with two Chrysler Crown engines. She was opening another store on Third Street South and decided to call it “CLEOPATRA’S BARGE.” It was named after the first ocean yacht built in the United States in 1816, by the Crowinshields in Salem, Massachusetts.

Designing and manufacturing jewelry had always been an interest of Janss’s. She considered taking a jewelry class at Endicott College, but it was a Friday, 5:00 p.m. class. She realized that it would probably conflict with weekend plans, so she decided not to attend.

When she was offered the chance to take some jewelry classes with a friend in Punta Gorda, she jumped at the chance. After several trips, she produced her first three pieces of fine jewelry. Her husband exclaimed, “Wow, these are great! I have a customer who would like you to make her a diamond ring with her alexandrite.”

She wasn’t exactly sure how to make it. So, she got in touch with a jewelry friend of hers in Coral Gables and he said, “You are in luck!” My good friend is visiting from New York, and he is one of Tiffany’s, Van Cleef & Arpel’s, and Cartier’s jewelry designers. For a fee, he will teach you everything you need to know.”

Janss returned to Naples and completed the ring. Her first commission was $1,450.00 in 1967.

A few weeks later while visiting her parents in Bronxville, NY, her girlfriend called to have lunch in the city. During the train ride, she sat next to a gentleman called Joe Costelli. He was wearing two very beautiful sapphire and diamond rings. She commented on them. He said he made them and that he did all of Tiffany’s, Van Cleef & Arpel’s, and Cartier’s diamond settings. She responded, “I’m a budding young jeweler.” He said, “Come to my office and I will teach you everything there is to know about trimming and setting diamonds!” So, she naturally rescheduled lunch and went with him.

In 1992, Janss designed and copyrighted “The Naples Medallion©.” It is the image of the Naples Pier available in four sizes in 14k gold and three sizes in sterling silver. She has also just designed the new “Naples Centennial Pier Medallion©,” which will be available soon.

Janss has moved her location from Third Street South to 300 Fifth Avenue South • Suite 211 above Bice Restaurant. There is an elevator and plenty of parking in the rear. She is there quite frequently but prefers appointments because she is often at a customer’s home to discuss redesigning their old heirlooms into new heirlooms with their gems or from her wide array of gems. She also has a large selection of jewelry from other suppliers available for purchase.

Janss can be reached at 239.261.7952 and looks forward to your call.


Appointments Preferred

300 Fifth Ave S • #211 | Naples, FL 34102



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