StyleBlueprint: 7 Charlotte Boutiques We Love

Style Blueprint 7 Charlotte Boutiques We Love + Laura James Jewelry



March 6, 2016


We go weak at the knees for local, handmade jewelry, so Laura James Jewelry has us floored. Owner and designer Laura Schmelzer James offers a wide selection of pieces, from bold, revamped vintage necklaces to dainty gold earrings. She also proudly features a smaller selection of other jewelers’ pieces in the store as well. Shop at James’ sun-flooded studio and boutique in Dilworth, and you’ll no doubt leave with a treasured item you’ll hold dear for a lifetime!


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Big News: Laura James Jewelry Just Got a Zagat Review!

Well, we are beyond thrilled and humbled by this finding…the prestigious Zagat reviewers chose to give our lofty treasure box business and boutique in Dilworth a glowing shout-out! We are so appreciative at this and could not have gotten here without all of our amazing customers. Thank-you!

Here's the Review!

Tucked into Dilworth’s Twin Oaks Shopping Center, this bright, glamorous studio and boutique is dedicated to handmade vintage-inspired jewelry, from cocktail rings to statement necklaces to bejeweled metal cuff bracelets, all by designer Laura Schmelzer James. In addition to shopping the collection, you can customize your own baubles, and it also carries a small selection of pieces from other independent jewelers.

Clarion-Ledger's James: Jewelry Line Growing

 James: Jewelry line growing

Jackson Academy graduate Laura James continues to make a name for herself in the jewelry business.
The Charlotte, N.C., resident, who graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in fashion merchandising, uses recycled materials to craft earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
The daughter of Jackson residents Joe and Gwen Schmelzer sells her jewelry in more than 40 stores in seven states. Much of it is Mississippi-inspired.

We caught up with James to see how business has been in the last few years.

Q: Has business grown?
A: I am fortunate that Laura James Jewelry has grown so much in the past couple of years that I was able to open my flagship boutique in September of 2009, the Laura James Jewelry Studio Boutique.
... Being a fan of artist Mildred Wolfe for so long, I make a point to visit her studio whenever I am in Jackson.
I have always loved how she has her studio set up within the boutique space so that customers can watch the hand-painting of the birds and animals in her collection. I took a similar approach with my own store and have an open studio within the boutique space where customers can watch the creating process as it happens as well as customize pieces themselves. I really enjoy the interaction, sharing the history behind my jewelry and how the pieces come into form. My favorite part is hearing the stories behind the family treasures my customers bring in to have me re-work.

Q: I know some of your jewelry has been featured in magazines and on television shows. Can you tell me a little bit about those?
A: In 2007, Lucky magazine first featured my jewelry in their December Gift Guide, and from there the sky opened.  Before I knew it, Gossip Girl was calling to feature it on their television series, as well as several Hollywood film studios for their major motion pictures.  When my jewelry was chosen to be featured on the Today show alongside jewelry by Marc Jacobs, that was one of the major highlights in my career. It has all been very rewarding, especially seeing my creations worn by celebs like Jessica Alba and Rumer Willis.

Laura James Jewelry has been featured in the magazines Real Simple, People Stylewatch, Us Weekly & Sotheby's Artful Living. 

Q: How would you describe your jewelry to those who aren't familiar with it? What is your style? What inspires you to create new pieces?
A: My personal style leans more contemporary, yet I am most drawn to pieces with a history - so modern vintage is often used to describe my designs.  My jewelry is created nearly entirely using vintage components, which are much more intricate and sturdy than the components mass created today.  From chain to stones, I am always looking for the unusual or something that tells a story to add into my designs.  Since I use primarily older materials, many of my pieces are one of a kind, which is something my customers appreciate. Juxtaposition is a theme within my jewelry, and I am often mixing sparkly with organic.  I love to play with the different textures, and I believe they come off in a way that people feel comfortable wearing them from day to night.  I am inspired primarily by my outside surroundings.  Travel is a one-way ticket to inspiration for me. From the beach to the mountains to other countries - this is where I find my inspiration.  When I am not travelling, I am looking all around me outdoors for textures and materials to spark a new direction.  Interior design and architecture are other major sources of inspiration for me.

Q: What are your aspirations for the future, business wise?
A: The future hopefully holds continued growth for Laura James Jewelry.
An area I have yet to approach is having a team of artisans assist with my jewelry making, so that I can expand my jewelry to even more places.  For now, my boutique, online store (www.LauraJamesJewelry.com) and wholesale accounts are my focus.  However, the potential to have more Laura James Jewelry boutiques in other states is always in the back of my head. 


Photos Courtesy of Laura James Jewelry

Something Sparkly...Laura James Jewelry featured in SouthPark Magazine!


Laura James Jewelry Vintage Gold Tone Victorian Stamp Cocktail Ring was Featured in August 2012 Issue of SouthPark Magazine's Season's Fashion Editorial as Something Sparkly!!!

Photos courtesy of SouthPark Magazine

Laura James Jewelry in Charlotte Wedding Fall/Winter 2012
QC Exclusive Features Laura James Jewelry in March/April 2012 Issue!








 QC Exclusive "Homegrown Talent" features Laura James Jewelry Studio Boutique + LJJ's Vintage Turquoise Pendant Necklace!!!

Article by Erica Hanks & Photos Courtesy of QC Exclusive

QC Exclusive Features Laura James Jewelry in Jan/Feb 2012 Issue!


QC Exclusive Must Haves for 2012: Laura James Jewelry's Tea Caddy Vintage Pendant Necklace $228, Vintage Coin Chain Bracelets, and Vintage Griffin Pendant Necklace.

Photos Courtesy of QC Exclusive

Charlotte Wedding Spring/Summer 2012 Front Cover!


 Charlotte Wedding's Spring/Summer 2012 Issue just hit newsstands and we're thrilled to see Laura James Jewelry's Vintage Paste Rhinestone Brooch Pendant Necklace on this issues' cover!  

See Selections from Laura James Jewelry's Couture Collection inside Charlotte Wedding's "Secret Garden" Editorial: p. 60-69 

Laura James Jewelry: Vintage Paste Rhinestone Brooch Pendant Necklace and Vintage Gold Ball Crystal Octagon Earrings 



See More Laura James Jewelry inside Charlotte Wedding's Spring/Summer 2012 Issue:

Fashion Editorial, "Out of the Blue" p. 24

Laura James Jewelry: Fynn Cuff, Iris Cocktail Ring and Belle Earrings

Photos Courtesy of Charlotte Wedding Spring/Summer 2012 Issue

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