Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, as was evidenced during opening day at International Flair Jewelers. Store owner Uri (pronounce it Oodie) Freijanes decided to hold an “ugly jewelry” contest, and scores of customers and friends brought their best ugliest.
Most of us have jewelry that could be called ugly, but we hold on to it for sentimental reasons, to wear on holidays or maybe to please gift givers. Freijanes wanted to make her opening fun and different, and it was. “The beauty of jewelry is that every piece has a story,” said Freijanes. “What might be ugly to someone else holds memories for the owner.”
In business since 1997, Freijanes is the second in her family to become a jeweler. Her mother, Ana Hurtado, worked in the business for 55 years before retiring. Starting with a kiosk in West Town Mall, Freijanes later moved to Turkey Creek and has now set up shop in Farragut.
“It was a wise business decision for me,” she said. “This is a great location with easy access off Kingston Pike and has plenty of parking.” In the Essex Pointe Center at 11124 Kingston Pike, the store is one door west of the Shrimp Dock.
The interior is elegantly designed with a gold and silver motif, but the welcoming in-store vibe is anything but formal. Customers and friends are greeted warmly; many have followed Freijanes from her previous locations. Betsy Houston has known Freijanes for 15 years and sent flowers to her opening, saying, “I’m here to buy a birthday gift for my 90-year-old mother. If Uri doesn’t have what I want, she’ll find it.”
Like sales associate Cindy Whitworth, all of the employees started out as customers. Whitworth, a three-year employee, says, “Uri is a people person and we just clicked. She is passionate about jewelry, her customers and her business.”
Another friend, Emily Moore, came to opening day as a customer and left as an employee, hired on the spot to work in the store over the holidays. Freijanes’s motto is “Come in as a customer and leave as a friend,” but you may also find a job!
Jewelry selections hit all price points. “We have things from five dollars to the sky is the limit,” says Freijanes. Both she and manager Bob Hartwick are GIA certified jewelers and gemologists, so they design original pieces and repurpose old jewelry. Repair, sizing and engraving are other services, and customers can order from catalogs.
Besides quality diamonds, precious and semiprecious stones, the store carries lines including Uno de 50, Lashbrook, Benchmark, Kokomo, Love Paws and Smoky Mountain Beads, among others. Men can find a good selection, and yes, they sell Trollbeads.