Levy’s Fine Jewelry downtown stands alone. Literally. It stands not in a neat commercial row but as the only store on its block of 2nd Avenue North. That’s fitting for a store that’s been a longtime fixture of downtown Birmingham and offers pieces from many of its eras.
We’re quick to celebrate the grand repurposing of our city’s past, particularly in this downtown Loft District. But it’s also nice to celebrate a place like Levy’s that’s weathered the last century more or less intact.
And should you be contemplating a very special holiday purchase, we recommend thinking of Levy’s long history as a wonderful metaphor. This shop is a place that has lasted, after all. Not impervious to change, but strong enough to adapt with it.
Not that you need metaphors to appreciate the global antiques or rows of jewelry sparkling in its window displays. The baubles speak plainly enough for themselves. But if your special person is the kind who loves living in a neighborhood with a past, with the crafted details now rarely produced, Levy’s is the best possible source.
Even the relative simplicity of a large 1940s solitaire (sold, unfortunately) has an unexpected depth. In a 1950s setting, a ruffle of diamonds hugs an emerald set in platinum with a serpent motif. Both as interesting as they are lovely.
And if a very big gift isn’t on your shopping list, there are plenty of charming everyday options with a nice patina. Cufflinks, say, or a delicate pendant.
Perhaps our very favorite thing about this store–besides the fact that it has a matriarch—is its business strategy. As described in this BMetro feature, the shop has managed to blend its lovable storefront retail with lucrative trade show sales. One foot in local tradition and one in the wider world, which is basically the model for our reviving downtown district.