Maven to Know: Dana Friedman



As the owner of Petite G Jewelers, Dana Friedman knows how to accessorize.

After buying the space that once housed G. Thrapp Jewelers in 2016, Dana advanced her career by opening her own jewelry shop, one with an elegant selection of vintage and new jewelry.

“I had worked at that location [G. Thrapp Jewelers] since 1999,” Dana says. “I would have worked there until retirement. The owner decided that he wanted to retire, and I was the first one that he offered to lease that space.”

Today, she’s been in the jewelry business for 30 years.

We caught up with her to learn more about the most popular jewelry item during the pandemic, how she likes to accessorize, and what trends to expect for the fall/winter 2020 season.

As a jeweler, what’s one of your favorite ways to accessorize?

I’m known for my layering and stacking of bracelets and long neck chains!

What are your duties At Petite G?

My main focus is bringing in all the eclectic designers that we carry. I try to carry ones that aren’t carried at large department stores. I try to carry more of the niche designers, that way people come to the city and they see things that they might not even see in the Midwest.

Any memorable jewelry experiences at the shop? 

We have had a proposal at the store, like literally they were looking at rings and he dropped down on one knee and asked her.

We’ve seen a lot of proposals during the pandemic. Have you been selling a lot of engagement rings lately?

Yeah! I think people had time to spend with each other and get to know each other. And we even had our first COVID baby. Meaning, she was in around March, picking up a repair, and then she just came in last week and she was noticeably pregnant and she was like, “Yep, I’m having a COVID baby.” So, it was kind of fun to see that.

How did the store change to work around the pandemic and restrictions?

During COVID, I was in the store every day, providing jewelry to people who were celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. I would take a tray out to their car and they would pick out a piece of jewelry. They would text me when they were done and then I would ring it up and wrap it up and go deliver it. We definitely had buyers and we were busy during that time.

What are some upcoming trends for Fall/Winter 2020?

I’m doing a lot of Zoom-buying and private appointments. We’re still seeing a carry-over of petite jewelry, and what I mean by that is multiple petite stud earrings and ear climbers and daggers and cartilage piercings. But on the other end of the spectrum, what I’m also starting to see and what we’ve been selling are bright, shiny, kind of 80s gold, like the Cuban length bracelets and necklaces. Gold has reached an all-time high during the pandemic.

Who’s a jeweler or style icon that you look up to?

One that’s big in our industry is Stephanie Gottlieb. I’ve known her since before she was a style icon or influencer. She’s just always in the trend, she’s always very interesting. She’s out in California, so it’s definitely something that is out before it hits the Midwest, so it’s always nice to see what’s coming. She specializes in a lot of personalized jewelry, which I think is sweet and sentimental.

What’s one of the most iconic pieces of jewelry that you like?

This is modern iconic, but we sell a lot of really great religious metals that are one-of-a-kind. They’re spiritual medals and I have, in my opinion, a large collection of those. I don’t know if it would be considered iconic, but it’s definitely different.

How did you come up with the name, Petite G Jewelers?

Well, if you saw me, petite would make sense to you. The store that I took over the platform, it was called G. Thrapp Jewelers. I skinned the store and the name is a combination of taking the store and making it a smaller space. And then me, being very petite in stature, that made sense. And then G for Gem, like a petite little gem of a place.

What’s something people might not know about you that would surprise them?

I’m a tomboy when I’m out of the store. Even though I wear a lot of jewelry and seem to be somewhat glammed up during the day, if you didn’t really know me you would think that was how I was all the time. But outside of the store, on my personal day, I’m no-makeup, no jewelry, very sporty and a tomboy outside of the jewelry store.

What qualities do you look for in the perfect piece of jewelry?

Oh, there’s a lot of qualities. When I buy estate jewelry, I always turn a piece of jewelry upside down and see how well it’s made underneath.

Samantha Kupiainen is a regular contributor to Indy Maven. 

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