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The Five Best Gems I Bought in Phoenix in 2012

Three of my favorite finds this year
Three of my favorite finds this year
From left to right: Becky Bartkowski, www.tiffefermaint.com, Becky Bartkowski

Because I hunt for gems every week, I shop what feels like all the damn time. In 2012, I longingly gazed at handmade leather goods at Prada's grand opening, nestled into plush couches at Restoration Hardware's The Gallery, toured the back room at Jewelry by Gauthier, splurged like a good American should on Fashion's Night Out at Neimans, and wrote about more collaborative lines than I could ever buy.

But, for me, shopping rarely equals buying. All right, maybe not rarely, but it's certain that the more time I've spent looking at items, examining pieces, and finding myself in awe or occasional disgust, the less I want to whip out the trusty AMEX. Though, some things I saw I had to have. Here are five.

5. Wonder Woman Cropped Top by Tiffe Fermaint It's been a big year for Tiffe Fermaint. Apart from getting engaged and announcing that she's having a baby, the Phoenix-based designer released a super-cool collection of upcycled clothing called Reincarnation that she released through Buffalo Exchange. I arrived at the release party early because I needed this Wonder Woman top, the perfect combination of local love, Fermaint's edgy style, and comic book nerdiness.

See also: - Jackalope Ranch's Gem Archives - Jackalope Ranch's Gift Guide for Phoenix's Fashionable - Hard Goods: Designs and Concrete Goods by Local Artists in Uptown Phoenix

4. Brass Heart Necklace from Meat Market Vintage Meat Market Vintage owners Cory Martinez and Ben Funke share a keen eye for funky vintage items, and I was so excited to see the pair open a brick-and-mortar boutique this year (they'd previously only sold via eBay). While my style usually skews more minimal than the bold, eclectic, and oft-kooky stock that Meat Market's staked its rep on, it's always fun to swing by and scope out their weirdly wonderful finds. On one of my first trips to the boutique, I picked up this oversize brass heart necklace that's been a statement staple for me this year.

3. Arizona Tote Bag from Madewell State pride isn't always an easy look to pull off, but this Arizona-centric tote from Madewell had even me feeling pretty good about the place I call home. I've mainly used it as a decorative, conversation piece hanging on a wall in my apartment because I'd hate to muss it up. Note to others who like it as much as me: Though it was originally released in limited quantities when the shop's Scottsdale outpost opened, now it's available for purchase any old time.

 

The Five Best Gems I Bought in Phoenix in 2012
From left to right: Becky Bartkowski (images on note by Ashley Weber); Courtesy of Bunky Boutique

2. Nameplate Necklace from Against the Grain Tempe-based jewelry designer Ashley Weber of Against The Grain made a limited series of brass necklaces exclusively for Bunky Boutique back in March. Instantly, I fell for the design, which reminded me of a treasured necklace that Bunky owner Rachel Malloy showed me when I toured her closet. Her grandmother Bunky gave her the piece, which spells out B-U-N-K-Y in diamonds.

I asked Weber if she might slightly modify the lettering for a custom order. She happily agreed, and now I have my own personalized piece of the Bunky story, along with a lovely little note Weber wrote me that includes images of the necklace being made.

1. My Wedding Dress I bought a wedding dress. Not because I am a psycho (or Liz Lemon), but because I'm getting married in February. I bought it from Anthropologie's bridal shop BHLDN. The cut, color, and style are beautiful. I (gleefully) got it on sale on Cyber Monday. Luckiest of all, it doesn't need any alterations. For that serendipitous fact, I think all my hours logged shopping this year have more than paid off.

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Related Locations

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Bunky Boutique

1437 N. 1st St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-252-1323

www.bunkyboutique.com

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Meat Market Vintage
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Buffalo Exchange

227 W. University Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-968-2557

www.buffaloexchange.com


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