Anice Jewel Boutique
Anice Jewel Boutique, though only opened a few weeks ago, is no stranger to the world of eclectic treasures found in Kensington Market.
After seven years of pop-up action in places like the Kapisanan Centre, selling action at boutiques like Pretty Freedom, and whatever other jewellery-hustling action a dedicated woman can be expected to perform, it's safe to say owner Brittany Hopkins has a firm idea of what she wants to achieve with her very own space at Anice, as well as the vibes it'll give off.
Named after her biggest source of inspiration, her grandmother, Anice Jewel Boutique is all about mixing the old with the new. Antique gems and modern materials come together to create "new love," or in Brittany's words, to "bring life to treasures that have been put aside, tucked away, or thought of as useless."
The homey space's white walls (and even its large front window) are crowded with picture frames serving as interior decoration as well as displays for product. One short walk around the circular centre table makes it easy to see everything Brittany has on display.
One especially notable feature is the "jewellery buffet" sitting neatly in the glass case doubling as the cash. As I peered at the assortment of stone, chain, and antique pieces organized into a tray that reminded me somehow of a Mancala board game, Brittany told me all about her vision of custom design.
The concept is simple: a customer could come to her with a budget, choose the materials from her selection, and leave with a unique bracelet, necklace, or chest harness - you name it! Usually, she would be the one constructing the piece, but if a customer's feeling ambitious, she's more than happy to step aside and let them take the reins on that part of the process (with some assistance, of course).
Since I wasn't fit to order my own custom Anice piece at the time (the launch party had me sipping white wine and scarfing down some Pizzeria Libretto), I stuck to perusing the ready-to-wear product, which included a plethora of mixed media necklaces like purple agate necklaces dangling by the window ($200), earrings both simple and statement ($15-$60), and rings that can be custom stamped to bear whatever letters or words a customer could desire ($40-$60).
Anice Jewel Boutique serves as the mecca for Brittany Hopkins originals, but her pieces will still be available in boutiques throughout Toronto and Edmonton. As for future endeavours, Brittany's keeping the doors wide open, hoping to continue to inspire people to wear ridiculous giant stones and chain harnesses without fear.
But don't expect her to ever sell her soul to commercialism; her jewellery-hustling action is strictly reserved for boutiques with the right vibe.
Photos by Christian Bobak