If you’ve driven by Camelback Road and 32nd Street lately, you’ve probably noticed that the iconic Molina Jewelers building has been under construction. Eleventh-generation jeweler Alfredo J. Molina has remodeled the space, incorporating a 2,000-square-foot salon with a separate entrance to house Black, Starr & Frost, America’s first jeweler, established in 1810.
Molina acquired Newport Beach-based Black, Starr & Frost in 2006, with the intent of revitalizing the brand, adding new collections, signature pieces and expanding locations.
At a pre-opening event, members of the media were invited to see the space and had an opportunity to try on some of the exquisite jewelry. I was draped with a sparkling diamond strand to wear for the evening with a price tag of $94,000. A little out of my price range, but a girl can dream, right?
Even though most of the jewelry is stratospherically priced, Molina and staff were quick to point out that Black, Starr & Frost has a price point for most everyone, starting at around $700.
The salon also has a bridal collection, offering a selection of diamond engagement and wedding rings, starting at $3,500. Other collections include: Everyday Luxury, which features cuff bracelets, diamond studs, stackable rings, bracelets and bangles, chandelier earrings and the opera strand; Timepieces; and the Chairman’s Collection, one-of-a-kind hand-crafted designs featuring rare gemstones.
We were given a tour of the downstairs salon, which is decorated with black and white tile floors, black-on-black wallpaper and gleaming silver-lined glass display cases stocked with magnificent jewelry, paying homage to the 1912 Black, Starr & Frost headquarters in New York City.
A short elevator ride took us upstairs to a private salon where patrons can relax in what Molina refers to as the “living room.” After brief remarks about his history and that of Black, Starr & Frost, Molina presented the evening’s highlight: “The Empress,” a $4.5 million necklace featuring 30 ultra-rare, untreated Burmese sapphires totaling 11.9 carats, 34 oval diamonds, and 404 round diamonds hand-set in platinum. The dazzling necklace designed by Molina took five jewelry artisans more than 1,500 hours to make.
Molina Fine Jewelers
Black, Starr & Frost
3140 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
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