New Kid on the Block: Greenwich St. Jewelers

The sisters who own and run Greenwich St. Jewelers didn’t at first see themselves in their parents’ business. “We were raised to do whatever we wanted,” says Jennifer Gandia. She and her sister, Christina Gandia Gambale, had helped out around the shop as kids — wrapping gifts, cleaning jewelry, entering inventory in a handwritten binder — and went on to other careers at first. “But that bird flew home at some point.”

Now they have set up shop at 93 Reade — the store’s third location since it opened in a tiny space at 118a Greenwich St. in 1976. Their father, Carl, learned the trade in Puerto Rico and when he came to the States, he found a job making wax models for rings. He and Milly, who managed buying and sales, took over the store from another couple, refining the selection and building a reputation as designers of custom jewelry. (If you like looking at jewelry even just a little bit, follow their Instagram.)

Jennifer went to FIT and worked in fashion PR and marketing; Christina worked in finance. The pair came back to help their parents after 9/11, when the store was forced to close for 10 months, all of them thinking it was temporary. Their parents had thought the girls’ lives would be easier if they worked for someone else in a 9-to-5.

“After that, we never left, and not in a bad way. I fell in love with jewelry and helping people with the most special moments in their lives,” said Jennifer, who joined the company in 2003.

Christina had an entrepreneurial bent from the beginning: she sold scrunchies in junior high, giving her mother the orders to sew as they came in. She joined the company in 2007, earning her graduate degree in gemology from GIA, the school founded here in 1931. “We really respect each other’s strengths,” says Christina. “I’m very left-brained.” Adds Jennifer: “I’m very creative and not that structured. I know my limitations.”

The result, they say, is like puzzle pieces snapping into place. “It’s an extraordinary fit,” says Jennifer.

The move to Tribeca was a natural one. They wanted more of a community space, and a bigger one, but also wanted to maintain the connection with their downtown roots. “Our parents really serviced the working community there,” said Christina. “And when that shifted, we started imagining something new.” They looked in Soho and Noho and nothing felt right till they landed here.

They leased this space three years ago and have crafted it to feel both comfortable and luxe, homey and not pretentious, commissioning new art and murals just for the space and restoring the original architectural features. “It’s like a very chic railroad apartment,” said Jennifer.

It is worth popping in just to see — and their staff is so gracious they would welcome a visit. The back wall was created by Mason Nye Murals from Brooklyn, and there’s a wonderful painting by East Village artist Rosalie Knox, represented by Chart Gallery, made from nail polish. “We wanted nods to New York and the grit of New York,” Christina said. Maori Hughes at MAOarch Architecture found the chandelier.

The shop has a curated selection of independent designers — each with their own space in the store — but they carry several of their own lines, create custom pieces, and — in what is perhaps their most unique service — they recreate or better yet, reimagine heritage pieces. They have two master jewelers on staff.

Their own jewelry collections, of course, are significant — who could help themselves given their trade. They both love to mix old and new; Christina wears her father’s original loop that he made for himself. He died four years ago, and their mother is now retired.

For now they are catching their breath after the move, get settled in and rooted, but the plan is to eventually use the space to hold events. And perhaps groom the next generation. Christina’s two young daughters made bracelets last summer and sold them on the beach. “It’s an apple tree thing,” she said.

Greenwich St. Jewelers
93 Reade | Church & West Broadway
Tuesday – Friday: 11-7
Saturday: 11-6 (engagement consultations by appointment only)



1 Comment

  1. Also on the jewelry front—there’s apparently a jeweler of some sort coming into the old Miller’s Oath space on Greenwich just north of Canal. Couldn’t get a name.