In 2000, opportunity met creativity when Karen Galvin met Gabriel Ofiesh at a craft trade show in Philadelphia. Galvin had just opened her second shop, Unique Boutique, in Naples, and was looking for jewelry that lived up to the store’s name. Ofiesh, a largely self-taught craftsman, had been designing gold and silver jewelry in his Charlottesville, Virginia, studio for over twenty-five years and exhibited widely in craft shows and galleries across the country.
Galvin recalls that fateful February 17, 2000 meeting: “It was getting close to my birthday and I saw Gabe’s work. I wanted to buy myself some nice jewelry—I love 18k gold, contemporary jewelry—but I also wanted to justify the purchase, so I decided to add his work to what I carried in the store.” Ofiesh adds, “Karen and I made an immediate connection. I remember thinking, ‘this is going to be a good professional relationship’.”
Of Ofiesh’s wide-ranging collections, two, in particular, are very popular with Unique Boutique clients: silver and gold square rings set with large, colorful cabochon gems and his patented Orbit Rings and Beads series, each piece featuring a floating ring of diamonds that revolve freely around a concave base ring or form.
Galvin soon invited Ofiesh to exhibit his work at a Unique Boutique trunk show in January 2001. The event was an immediate success and signaled to Galvin that the Naples market was eager for new choices in fine jewelry. Galvin: “Gabe’s work has a big look. It’s bold and beautiful, but also very wearable. It has a clean, elegant, sophisticated design that works equally well for special occasions and everyday wear.”
Ofiesh’s auspicious 2001 gallery show marked the beginning of a twenty-two-year business relationship. Galvin soon added Ofiesh jewelry trunk shows to the annual exhibit schedules in her other galleries: Unique Boutiques in Mashpee, Massachusetts, which opened in 1995, and Delray Beach, Florida, which opened in 2009. In between artist appearances, Galvin offers an extensive collection of Ofiesh jewelry, including traditional favorites and new work.
Galvin: “I know my clients in all three stores. Their tastes might vary a little bit from place to place, but they all share one thing: a love of beautiful, well-made jewelry. I enjoy making that match between the wearer (or the gift-giver!) and a fine piece of Gabe’s jewelry.
Gabe and I have enriched each other’s lives, both professionally and personally. We look forward to seeing each other at every event.”
Ofiesh’s annual trunk show, held each year on the third weekend in January, will take place this year on January 20-21.