Talking Shop: Jewelers start a new tradition

Bill Peters held an Art Deco diamond and sapphire bracelet and gazed at its sparkle radiating from glistening chandeliers in the new Traditional Jewelers at Fashion Island.

"This is in a setting relative to its value," Peters, general manager of the store, said proudly while standing behind a showcase in the jewelry shop's new space that has doubled in size.

Situated at the nexus of Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's in Fashion Island, the boutique moved from its former location near the Macy's anchor to a salon with more than 10,000 square feet and additional features. Grottoes of jewelry exhibit some of the world's most prestigious brands, including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier and Officine Panerai in four new shop-in-shops.

"We're celebrating life's moments," Peters said, "And we wanted the surroundings to be very open, warm and inviting."

After 35 years of specializing in designer and bridal jewelry, as well as Swiss watches, Traditional Jewelers debuted its brand new look and location July 11.

"It was time to remodel, and we also knew the former space wasn't big enough to house all the collections," Peters said. "This is us elevating Traditional Jewelers."

With a large presentation of Swiss timepiece brands and an extensive watch collection, Traditional Jewelers built its legacy in Newport Beach.

In 1975, Marion and Lula Halfacre opened their first jewelry store in Jackson, Mississippi. Four years later, they sold a portion of their business to their partner and moved to Newport Beach after purchasing their store located in Newport Hills Center. The store grew successfully and became the first "Cartier Corner" on the West Coast. In 1991, Traditional Jewelers moved to Fashion Island, bringing its loyal clients.

The building's round structure, known as the "Jewel of the Court," housed the finest jewelry designer names of the world from Audemars Piguet to Kwiat Diamonds. In 2007, Marion Halfacre passed away, and his wife and the professional staff carried on the business. In 2012, Traditional Jewelers was sold to Hyde Park Jewelers, a Denver-based independent jeweler with locations in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Today, Peters operates the Newport Beach location, bringing his experience in the luxury retail world. He most recently served as store director and director of client relations at Louis Vuitton at South Coast Plaza.

"I'm starting this exciting chapter," Peters said.

Michael Pollak, chief executive of Hyde Park Jewelers, is just as excited to launch the store's reopening.

"We're thrilled to be building upon Traditional Jewelers' tremendous legacy here in Orange County," Pollak said in a release. "The additional space and new location near Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's at Fashion Island is the perfect setting to showcase our comprehensive collection of impeccably sourced gems, designer jewelry and exclusive timepieces."

Among the new features is a diamond room where clients are escorted behind closed doors to view specific pieces.

Rolex's presentation throughout the store is so large that designers carved a separate entrance to their collection.

Fred Leighton's vintage estate collection, ranging from the Art Deco era to the design of the mid-20th century, showcases ethnic jewels from around the world, including Burmese rubies. Leighton has garnered worldwide attention for the brand as actresses such as Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker and Natalie Portman have worn antique jewels on the red carpet.

"Because they're estate pieces, they're unique and one-of-a-kind," Peters said while admiring the showcase's bright colors of sapphires and emeralds. "We're very excited with this addition."

But Peters says the company's customer service principles will remain top at the new store. Guests can relax for any in-house services such as the on-site watch repair, insurance replacement, appraisals, custom design and styling. Two jewelers are on site to create pieces clients wish to be designed.

"With this big expansion, we're taking Traditional Jewelers to the next level," Peters said. "It's a great location, and we're seeing positive results."

If You Go

What: Traditional Jewelers

Where: Fashion Island, 203 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach

When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Information: (949) 721-9010 or

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