Selection of Handcrafted Sterling Silver Is Specialty of Downtown Village Silver Shop
One-OF-A-Kind: “Village Silver has a long-standing reputation in the community. People know we have the finest one-of-a-kind merchandise that is truly unique. In addition, we offer the most attentive and helpful customer service.” Valerie White, manager of Village Silver on Witherspoon Street, is shown by a display of the store’s selection of sterling silver.
By Jean Stratton
“We have one of the largest selections of handcrafted sterling silver on the East Coast, and we have survived in the Princeton downtown for 42 years! This has been such a good location with lots of traffic and activity.”
Maria Laraia, owner of Village Silver at 39 Witherspoon Street, is justly proud of her store’s longevity. A mainstay on the Princeton shopping scene, it is known for its outstanding sterling silver and its array of jewelry created by the finest artisans.
“It’s a family business,” adds Laraia. “My mother began it in Connecticut, where we had our first store. Now, we attract customers from all over New Jersey and beyond. There are many regulars who have been with us over the years.
“We have silver from 300 different artisans from all over the world — the U.S., Italy, Mexico, Bali, India, Nepal, and Tibet, and also authentic Native American silver jewelry.”
Delicate to Dramatic
Customers will find a large selection of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, and pins. Ninety-five percent of the merchandise is sterling silver. There are styles for every taste: from delicate to dramatic, and simple elegance to sleek sophistication. The variety of designs reflects creative imagination.
“The ‘Tree of Life’ theme is very popular in pendants and bracelets,” explains store manager Valerie White. “The ‘Ginko Tree’ is another favorite theme, and feathers also have meaning. They evoke wisdom, spiritual belief, and higher celestial power.”
Unique gifts for every occasion are a specialty of Village Silver. With the helpful and knowledgeable assistance of Maria Laraia and Valerie White, you will find the perfect remembrance for a birthday, wedding, anniversary, Mother’s and Father’s Day, graduation, etc.
“Charm bracelets are a highlight,” reports Laraia. “We have a special charm program, including charms for bracelets and necklaces, and we can special order them for you.”
Gifts for men, including silver chains, ID bracelets, belt buckles, and money clips are all available, and will be welcome gifts for dad on Father’s Day.
“We have a lot of unisex items,” points out Laraia. “These are popular with men and women, and all ages. We also offer free gift wrap, free shipping, and in addition, we can email photos of jewelry to people. And now, we can also offer repair and restringing. This really differentiates us from other places.”
Village Silver’s wide following of customers not only appreciate these services, but also the personal attention and knowledgeable help the store has always offered.
“The focus of our clientele has been in Princeton, but customers are really from all over,” says Laraia. “A lot of people come when their children are students at Princeton, and they remain as customers over the years. Alumni come in during the reunions too. We look forward to seeing all of them.
“I enjoy all of our wonderful customers. We know many of them by their first names. They have become friends, and we know their families. They really appreciate the quality and uniqueness of our special silver.”
There certainly is widespread praise for the quality of the items and service at this respected store. “I love Village Silver,” notes one longtime customer. “I always find a perfect gift for someone, and also something special for myself! I have introduced my friends to the store, too, and they tell other friends, so there is a constant network of people who appreciate Village Silver.
“I also have friends who have moved away, and they always stop in at Village Silver to find something new when they are in town.”
No gift has been more valued over time than jewelry. It can be passed down as an heirloom in a family and thus it bestows continuity and meaning over the years.
“Jewelry is so important because it is eternal,” observes White. “Clothing comes and goes. Both clothes and jewelry have style and make you feel good, but jewelry lasts forever. And, of course, it can be passed on to another generation. Sterling is special because it is very flattering for most skin tones. It is also versatile in design, and more affordable than 14 karat gold.”
She adds that helping customers with their jewelry choices is a pleasure for her, and another important aspect of Village Silver’s personal service.
Budget and Style
“I love selling our wonderful jewelry, and I love helping people solve problems. They come in, and many want something special for a particular event, but they aren’t sure what to get. We can find something that suits their budget and style. They are so happy that we’ve been able to help them.”
Customers also appreciate the store’s wide price range, she points out. “We have something for all pocketbooks, and this is very important.”
Having been a major part of the Princeton downtown for so many years is very meaningful to Maria Laraia. “We are so proud that we have been able to be here and continue to offer our silver to customers. We are also happy that we attract young people and introduce them to our selection. We also love being able to educate them about the quality and workmanship of our unique pieces.
“This store has a tradition that is similar to stores from before. We recognize you when you come in. We have a welcoming atmosphere, with special attention and service.
“We are definitely here to stay! We look forward to offering the creations of new designers to all our customers. We also always want to be a part of this special community.”
Village Silver is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 5. (609) 924-5990. Website: www.villagesilverjewelry.com.