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Mavrik Fine Jewelry (200 S. Kirkwood Road, 314-909-6818) is the combination of owner/designer Igal Alon’s varied interests and experiences. Even the name, which means “brilliant” in Hebrew, harkens back to his Israeli heritage. Alon recently took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about himself, the business and what’s next.
What brought you to St. Louis?
A telecommunications job. After my military service in Israel, I wanted to get away. The plan was just to take a breather for a year or two. I found a job doing consulting for Southwestern Bell and that’s what brought me to the States. The first two years I was traveling for the company, which gave me the opportunity to learn the culture of different places. Eventually, St. Louis became my permanent residence. I’ve been here for the past 12 and a half years.
How did you get started in the jewelry business?
I started bringing back gifts from Israel. People liked them, and I thought I could turn it into a small business. My family does diamond cutting and diamond dealing in one of the largest diamond complexes in the world. When I added a fine jewelry collection, I joined with my family to offer more competitive prices.
What is the best thing about owning Mavrik?
The best thing for me is working in a place that doesn’t feel like work. I think that’s a good indication that you are doing something you truly enjoy. I also like the creative freedom. If we have an idea, we can run with that. In bridal design, I’m inspired by my customers. I sit with them and listen to their ideas, their passion. Then I take those ideas and turn them into a finished product.
What’s special about Mavrik?
In a traditional jewelry store, somebody will try to sell you what’s right there in their case. But when someone comes in here, they don’t feel pressured to make a decision. About 90 percent of the time, people walk out with a concept, which later translates into a piece of jewelry. They don’t just walk out with a ring.
What items are popular around Valentine’s Day?
Monogrammed necklaces are pretty big for us. Any guy can pick up flowers or chocolate on the way home, but personalized jewelry shows deeper thinking and more planning.
What do you have planned for the future?
We are working on new collections, but we also have a master plan of relocating to a new building. We doubled the size of our store in 2010. Now we’ve gotten to the next maturity level, and we’re ready for the next step in terms of size and added features. These features are going to be something that people will be very excited about. They are very different and new for St. Louis. But all those extra features come with significant investment, so I want to do that in a place I own.