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My Life and Sanity Files

Florida Jeweler Lindy Kavanaugh Reveals What’s on Her Desk

Florida store owner turned her childhood love of bling into a job as a bench jeweler.

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Lindy Kavanaugh Lindy’s, Fernandina Beach, FL

Although Lindy Kavanaugh loved moving to New York City at age 24 to pursue a GIA degree in gemology, she always planned to move back home to Fernandina Beach, FL, on Amelia Island, to open her own jewelry store.

By age 18, Lindy had turned her childhood love of jewelry into a job as a bench jeweler for a shop in Fernandina. That led to a job with Underwood Jewelers in Jacksonville, FL, where owner Clayton Bromberg instilled in her a mind-opening curiosity about gemstones. “When I first started in jewelry, I was just an apprentice,” she says. “I was doing all the grunt work like polishing and casting, but when I went to work at Underwood’s it was a different environment. He always encouraged his employees to be more interested in the gemology side of it, to know the product.” After college at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, she enrolled in the GIA. 

“I was 24 when I moved to New York. My mom and I took the train up and I had never been to New York. It was January and freezing cold!” But she loved it anyway. After earning her graduate gemologist degree, she landed a job with Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue. “I found a place to live with a friend, borrowed money from my brother and sister to rent an apartment and I stayed in New York until I couldn’t afford it.”

It was time to go home anyway to pursue her retail dream. And she met her husband, Hardee, just a few months after she returned.

She found an amazing space to rent, a former bank building that had a vault with a beautiful door, all brass and hand-engraved etched glass. The timing wasn’t auspicious. She opened on Sept. 12, 2001, but the fact she had ties to the community made it a success. “My husband is the eighth generation of his family to live in Fernandina; we had a big support group and that’s how I was able to make it. That’s so much of why I love where we live. It’s a great little community.”

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After 15 years she had the opportunity to buy a building about half a block away, which happened to be built by Hardee’s great, great uncle in 1903. “I had thought the worst thing you can do is to move or change the name of your business, but we moved and it has been a really good thing!” she says.

Kavanagh carries designer brands, some of which are exclusive to the store. “We’ve decided to listen to our instincts more when buying,” she says. “Prior to our move in 2016, we were a bit more like a traditional jewelry store, but we’ve realized that our customers have come to expect more than that from us. So, we are buying only pieces we absolutely love.”

Lindy is living her career dream while also balancing the care of “a gaggle of children.” She and Hardee have three kids: Kate, Will and Eve, the youngest, who seems at age 10 to have inherited her mother’s eye for jewelry.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

My Life and Sanity Files

This Pennsylvania Designer/Retailer Is a Homebody and a Planner

She doesn’t wait for chances, she goes for it!

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Alexis Kletjian

Alexis Kletjian Fine Jewelry, Kennett Square, PA

Jewelry designer Alexis Kletjian launched her first collection in 2011 and began selling her gold creations directly to collectors. Her first trade show was the New Designer Gallery at JA New York, where she was awarded the prestigious Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year Award in 2016. She opened her retail gallery in Kennett Square, PA, in September 2017, where her location became a destination for custom fine jewelry and heirloom redesign in an inviting, no-pressure environment.

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My Life and Sanity Files

Why This Salsa-Dancing, Scuba-Diving Jeweler Loves to Live Like A Tourist

Florida jewelry sales pro loves being part of her customers’ milestones.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ZACHARY MANN.

Jillian Hornik
Jae’s Jewelers,Coral Gables, FL

Jillian Hornik is sales manager at Jae’s Jewelers in Coral Gables, FL. She love scuba diving, salsa dancing and dogs, and is a graduate gemologist and an AGS registered jeweler.

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My Life and Sanity Files

This Amateur Photographer, Craft Beer Enthusiast and Passionate Cook Is Also a Jeweler

She hates the concept of birthstones because they limit people’s creativity.

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Casey Gallant Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA

Casey has spent nearly 20 years working with her father, Steve, at the store he opened 42 years ago on Cape Cod. She earned her G.G. from GIA Carlsbad in 2001, was named one of the “40 Under 40” by Cape & Plymouth Business in 2013, and serves on the Next Generation Advisory Board for the Independent Jewelers Organization.


What is your geographical history? 

I was born and raised on Cape Cod with short stints in Virginia, Spain and California. 

How did you get into the business? 

As a daughter of a jeweler I took the indirect route: I went to college to become Indiana Jones, graduated with a degree in Spanish film before finally going to GIA Carlsbad. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I love to be in or on the water (salt please) or up in the mountains of New Hampshire. 

What is your favorite color? 

Gold! 

What are your hidden talents? 

I am an amateur photographer, semi-pro craft beer enthusiast and a passionate cook. 

Tell us your pet peeve about jewelry. 

I hate the concept of birthstones because it limits people’s creativity. Forget the rules! Wear it if you like it. 

Describe your personal jewelry style. 

I like my jewelry like my personality – big and bold! 

What is your biggest challenge at work? 

Earning customers’ trust, but it is absolutely the most rewarding part of my job. 

5 things on my desk: 

A mug of Ron Swanson as Mona Lisa, a bobblehead of Dougal Mackenzie, coffee, edge reports and my loupe .

3 things on my to-do-list: 

Schedule social media posts, work on my “one-of-a-kind collection, take a vacation. 

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