Display of Berkeley's hidden style gene

Nikki Ioakimedes |Photo: Joe Budd | June 16, 2011 | Story Best of the Bay

Who could have predicted that polished jeweler Melissa Joy Manning would choose the city of Berkeley for her first retail space? After all, her magazine-hyped creations have been worn by many cover girl megastars (Giselle, Cameron, Drew, Charlize) and sold in Madison Avenue department stores that Berkeley residents would reject as big-box retail. But once the Manning boutique arrived, it all made sense—Manning grew up in Alameda, and her space is around the corner from the flagship boutique of womens­wear designer Erica Tanov, another East Bay native who has made it big. You peek through Manning’s glass door into her atelier and see jewelers crafting her designs from recycled gold and obscure materials rarely used in fine jewelry. There’s glowing blue cavansite—a mineral thrown out by traditional jewelers—and pyritized ammonite (a fossil laced with fool’s gold) that she pairs with 14-karat gold. Local trendsetters circulate. Out-of-state fans browse. One couple traveled all the way from Phoenix for Manning’s custom-made engagement rings. It’s never been possible before to be so close to her process. Says Shawn Burke, a Tanov executive who shops at Manning, “Once you buy one of Melissa’s pieces, you become a lifelong fan.” 1827 5th St. Suite A, Berkeley, 510-647-9409


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