Tech toys, gold, and red hots
Beagle Brain, 2 Nickels Arcade, 623-9000. Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-
7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. beaglebrain.com.
A new business on Jackson Road called the Gold Gallery is trying to graft a jewelry store onto a gold-buying service. "We want to buy gold and sell jewelry," says jeweler Fred Monroe, who trained at Urban Jewelers and says he's "a fabricator, not a caster. I work with sheet and wire." Joanna Kokkales, who shies away from being described as an owner or partner ("I'm the developer"), has expertise in appraisal. She explains, "We want to sell Fred's designs. We're not a pawnshop." Kokkales and Monroe have been collaborating since 1998, when they both worked at another local jeweler, Austin & Warburton.
The Gold Gallery opened in late January, and Kokkales and Monroe envision their shop as a kind of multipurposed aftermarket for gold jewelry that will support Monroe's own jewelry lines and also provide an income stream to Kokkales's favorite charity, the neonatal unit at St. Joe's, where she is on the board of directors. They lay out several scenarios that make use of the talents of either or both of them. Say, for example, you come in to sell Grandma's engagement ring: they'll pay you for the gold, but Monroe will design and make a pendant using the diamond. You'll probably still come out ahead, they say, because Monroe works not only in gold but also in less expensive metals like silver, Argentium Silver, and niobium-a reactive metal that takes on color when an electrical current is run through it.