Facets Fine Jewelry is closing in May after 27 years in the Lee Heights Shops.
The shop on 4530 Cherry Hill Road is shuttering due to owners Suzanne and Tom Arnold retiring after six decades making, designing, and selling jewelry. The plan, according to the owners, is to be open until at least Mother’s Day (May 8) and then continue for a week or two after, until most of the merchandise has been sold.
The store has been named one of Arlington’s best jewelers several times by Arlington Magazine.
But now it’s time to pack it in, the owners say.
“Age and attrition,” Suzanne tells ARLnow about why the couple, ages 75 and 80, are retiring and closing up shop. “We’ve kept rolling with it as long as we can because we really love it.”
In 1995, after working for other local jewelry shops, the couple came upon the shopping center and decided to go out on their own.
“I remember thinking that ‘this looks just right,'” she says. “‘It has a real neighborhood feel.'”
They opened Facets Fine Jewelry in September 1995 and she remembers the store filling up with folks buying Christmas gifts. Tom says the store survived for nearly three decades at the shopping center, including the difficult last two years, due to the neighborhood and long-time clients.
“This is our home,” he said. “[When we opened in 1995] everyone took us in. It’s just been wonderful and I can’t say enough.”
Tom got started designing jewelry in the 1960s in Beverly Hills, California. In fact, he hand-designed pieces for some of the biggest stars of the day.
“He remembers John Wayne ordered a little gold charm [from him]… to be given to all of the cast and crew of [a film] he worked on,” says Suzanne. “He was very generous.”
Tom also was a jeweler for Jane Russell, one of Hollywood’s leading ladies in the mid-20th century.
Suzanne says one of her favorite parts of selling jewelry is that it’s so personal.
“Customers aren’t just anonymous souls,” she says. “You become part of people’s lives because you really do mark special moments in their lives.”
For the next month, Suzanne will be just enjoying saying goodbye and selling off as much jewelry as possible, at up to a 70% discount.
When that final day comes in May, the couple says they will be sad but will be looking forward to their big retirement plans — staying local and spending their new-found free time touring museums, going to plays, and eating fancy meals.
“We are going to play tourist in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia,” Suzanne says.
The jewelry and accessory shop Fornash is now set to re-open in the Ballston Quarter development, after the mall’s redevelopment forced the store to move elsewhere years ago.
Signs posted at a Ballston Quarter storefront indicate that the shop is set to open sometime in spring 2019.
County permit records show that Fornash applied for building permits last spring. It will be located behind the CVS and Punch Bowl Social, in the outdoor section of the mall’s first level.
The store, founded by Stephanie Fornash Kennedy, got its start in Georgetown back in 2002. But Kennedy moved the shop to the old Ballston Common mall in 2012.
Fornash was forced to move out, however, in 2016 as developer Forest City began its extensive rehab work on the mall.
The store joins other businesses like Chick-fil-A, Curious Kids Toys and Refresh Therapeutic Massage in returning to Ballston Quarter now that shops are beginning to open in the development once more.
Fornash offers everything from bracelets, necklaces and earrings to gloves and handbags.
Amazon in Talks to Come to Crystal City — Per a widely re-reported Washington Post scoop, Amazon “has held advanced discussions about the possibility of opening its highly sought-after second headquarters in Crystal City.” An Amazon executive, meanwhile, tweeted that “the genius leaking info about Crystal City” is “not doing [it] any favors.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Crystal City Isn’t Alone — “Amazon.com Inc. has progressed to late-stage talks on its planned second headquarters with a small handful of communities including northern Virginia’s Crystal City, Dallas and New York City, people familiar with the matter said, as it nears a final decision that could reshape both the tech giant and the location it chooses.” [Wall Street Journal, Washington Business Journal]
Jewelry Store Coming to Ballston Quarter — “ninetwofive, formally Wuayra Peruvian Silver Jewelry, is offering sterling silver jewelry and fine accessories in its new location at Ballston Quarter in Arlington, VA beginning this November.” [PR Log]
Officials: We’re Listening to Boundary Concerns — “Arlington school leaders say nothing has been cast in stone when it comes to adjusting elementary-school boundaries, but that the clock is ticking toward decision-making… The schools whose boundaries are in play in this round of adjustments include Abingdon, Barcroft, Drew, Fleet (the new school to replace Patrick Henry), Hoffman-Boston, Long Branch, Oakridge and Randolph elementaries.” [InsideNova]
APS Asked About Graduation Rates — “Arlington school officials are being pressed by one board member to be more specific in analyzing data related to graduation and drop-out rates of minority students. School Board Vice Chairman Tannia Talento says minority students — those classified as black, Latino and Asian — could end up ‘falling through the cracks’ if more attention isn’t given to their individual cases.” [InsideNova]
Miss Steindorff Remembers — A nursing home employee in Minnesota used social media to help a former Walter Reed Elementary teacher, Miss Steindorff, remember the names of students in one of her classes, as depicted in a photo she kept. Students in alumni groups the employee reached out to helped fill in the gaps in Miss Steindorff’s memory, while sharing their own fond memories of their teacher, shortly before she passed away. [Presbyterian Homes & Services]
Citizen tipsters were rewarded with $650 for helping the Arlington County Police Department track down two men suspected of armed robbery in 2016.
Police arrested Jorgito Cruz, 37, of Alexandria and Alexander Ruiz, 21, of Puerto Rico for trying to rob Sacramento Jewelers on the 2700 block of Washington Blvd in Lyon Park just before 5:45 pm. on December 7, 2016.
The pair were armed with guns, and tried to hold an employee hostage before fleeing the scene.
Police were led to the men after tipsters spotted a suspicious vehicle stopped on the Washington Blvd exit of I-395 shortly after the robbery. The tipsters reported seeing a man removing tape from the license plate and throwing something away.
Noting the large police presence in the area, the tipsters copied down the license plate number and contacted police. They were arrested in Fairfax County, south of Alexandria, just before midnight that night.
The tipsters were given the cash reward by Arlington County Crime Solvers, a community program that sponsors a 24-hour confidential tip line — 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) — for individuals to anonymously report potential leads or information. Callers who provide information leading to arrest, the recovery of drugs or stolen property, are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.
“During the commission of their crimes, Jorgito Cruz and Alexander Serpa Ruiz endangered the lives of innocent and hardworking citizens,” said Police Chief Jay Farr said in a statement. “Thanks to the assistance of the witnesses and the diligent investigative work of detectives, two violent offenders have been removed from our streets and will no longer be in a position to cause harm in our community. This case highlights how police and the public can work together to maintain the safety and security of Arlington County.”
In June 2017, Cruz pled guilty to two counts of attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, two counts of abduction and use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and 20 years of probation upon release.
Ruiz pled guilty to three counts of robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. He was sentenced to six years in prison and 10 years of probation upon release.
(Updated at 4:10 p.m. on 12/23/21) Two men armed with guns tried to rob a jewelry store in Lyon Park last night, according to police, but wound up empty-handed and in jail.
Police say Jorgito [Redacted], 37, of Alexandria and Alexander [Redacted], 21, of Puerto Rico tried to rob Sacramento Jewelers on the 2700 block of Washington Blvd just before 5:45 pm.
“Two masked suspects brandishing firearms entered a jewelry store and attempted to restrain one of the employees,” according to an Arlington County Police Department press release. “A struggle ensued between the employee and the suspects, causing the suspects to flee the area by vehicle.”
Police got a quick break in the case when someone noticed a suspicious vehicle stopped along I-395 shortly after the robbery “and provided critical information” that ultimately led investigators to the suspects, who were arrested in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County just before midnight.
Both [Redacted] and [Redacted] are being held in the Arlington County jail without bond.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged two suspects for their role in an armed robbery. Jorgito [Redacted], 37, of Alexandria VA and Alexander Serpa [Redacted], 21, of Puerto Rico were arrested and charged with attempted armed robbery, abduction, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and use or display of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. Both suspects are being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.
At approximately 5:44 p.m. on December 7, officers were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery in the 2700 block of Washington Boulevard. The investigation revealed that two masked suspects brandishing firearms entered a jewelry store and attempted to restrain one of the employees. A struggle ensued between the employee and the suspects, causing the suspects to flee the area by vehicle.
During the course of the investigation, a witness driving on I-395 noticed a suspicious vehicle and provided critical information to the Emergency Communication Center. Utilizing the information provided by the witness, evidence located at the scene and information obtained during witness interviews, detectives developed suspect descriptions. Officers from the Arlington County Police Department’s Tactical Unit and the Fairfax County Police Department took the two suspects into custody in the Alexandria portion of Fairfax County.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective G. Seibert of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4199 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
It can be called a “hidden gem” and a “buried treasure” because of its subterranean location and the nature of its business: Protea Diamonds has been creating custom designer jewelry for an educated and cultured clientele for 30 years in the same North Arlington location, in the lower level of the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.
And, unless you have refined taste and a passion for one-of-a-kind jewelry, you most likely have never heard of Protea, until now.
Anthony Taitz is okay with that. In fact, contrary to just about every other retailer, he prefers appointments at his quiet boutique shop with clients over walk-in foot traffic. That way, he can devote the time and attention required to craft exactly the piece the client sees in their dreams.
And some of his clients dream big. Here’s a recent example:
“My client wanted to propose marriage at the bottom of the ocean, while scuba diving,” Anthony says. “So we made a cubic zirconia copy to look like the real thing in case he lost it.” The diver-boyfriend proposed with the impressive copy underwater but gave his fiancée the real ring safely back at the hotel.
That’s just one of Anthony’s seemingly endless stories about a career that has taken him from his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa, to the dusty back roads of Texas to the bustling community of Arlington where he has earned his reputation as the “anti-mall, anti-mass market” jeweler.
“We give attention to detail, to quality,” he says. “We make exclusive, high-end, one-of-a-kind pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.”
Ideal-cut South African diamonds and precious gems are used to craft engagement rings, wedding bands, anniversary bands, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, and just as vital as the material is the education that the client receives when Anthony explains their creation.
Anthony cautions that “we are not inexpensive.” Of his pricing, he says, “on a scale of five we are between two and three.”
Modern jewelry shoppers, he said, “study the market on the Internet, and we welcome that. They know what they want and they know what they should pay. It is up to us to create exactly what they see in their dreams.”
Anthony has created his own dream along the way. He came to the U.S. from South Africa in 1983 and found a position in Dallas, driving an immense territory as a travelling salesman throughout the American Southwest. He saw hundreds of jewelry stores along the way, each one contributing to his own ideas of how he would build his own business.
After he met his soon-to-be-wife Rhonda in Dallas, “I followed her like a lovesick puppy to Arlington,” he says. Once in Arlington, Anthony made friends with the then-landlord of the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center who let him have a room in the lower level for a fabulously low rent. “It was perfect for me,” he says 30 years later. “It was a vault.”
The business grew as his reputation as a reliable, affordable craftsman spread, and it continues to spread to this day. Protea Diamonds may still be a “hidden gem” and a “buried treasure,” but there are many who are in on the secret.
To make an appointment at Protea Diamonds at 2499 North Harrison Street, call 703-536-9822 or [email protected]
The preceding was a promoted post written by Buzz McClain and sponsored by Protea Diamonds.