A new jewelry store with ethnic and worldwide items is gracing the streets of downtown Grass Valley in the form of Shiva Moon.
Located at 129 Neal St., Shiva Moon formally opened Sept. 26.
Owners Devon and Simone Schwinn said the name stems from them wanting to honor the Hindu deity Shiva, who according to legend, wears the moon in his hair, and also pay homage to the lineage of silversmiths in India from whom they developed their style.
Devon Schwinn collected antique jewelry and textiles from around the world for at least 10 years, during which his interest in silver work developed.
He studied classical maharajah-style work with a Rajasthani teacher in India for years and also traveled through Thailand, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Egypt and east Africa, where he collected jewelry and gathered inspiration for future projects.
“I just always had a hunger and yearning for the exotic,” he said. “I really wanted to go to the East to see something completely different and to just experience a really different culture.”
Schwinn wants to extend the collections from his travels to Grass Valley through Shiva Moon, he said.
“I think there’s a niche for a classy representation of what’s going on out there,” he said.
“Going around and hunting around and finding real treasures, one-of-a-kind things nobody makes anymore, hard-to-find things, it gives you a certain insight into these other places, as well. You cultivate deeper relationships with people when they see your appreciation of their traditional arts.”
Part of the appreciation was demonstrated with Schwinn’s interest in silver work, which he sought to keep alive through practice.
“I wanted to learn how to do the silver work to keep the tradition alive from these tribal, old-world traditions and combine them with modern influences,” he said, by using high quality silver that is recycled and ecologically sensitive and alluvial gold from the Yuba River or other local river systems.
“I buy directly from local gold traders and antique stores, who get it directly from gold panners and traders,” he said, adding that he focuses on an old-world style of jewelry, all of which is made by hand, and some antique items,
Schwinn also creates commission pieces for those with an idea in mind or who need something to be customized.
He said he became interested in the significance of jewelry as magical objects with meaning, with a story and relationship to the creator of the pieces.
“It’s something we can carry with us and have with us all the time, and there’s a whole sort of alchemical process that goes into making a piece of jewelry … the communion with the elements, fire, metals with the gemstones,” he said.
“I guess I just got hooked because there is this magical aspect to it, and I also just enjoy the fact that you’re making something artistic, but durable — something someone will have and can pass onto their children, whereas a lot of other things don’t withstand the tale of time.”
Schwinn is appreciative of the opportunity to carry on such traditions, he said, adding, “I’m just thankful to be able to continue that and bring them into the modern era for people.”
Schwinn grew up in Sonoma County, but came across Nevada County originally because of the Yuba River, and became drawn to the historic and natural atmosphere.
“I love the mountains and was attracted to the beauty of the nature here and the historical nature of the town,” he said, adding he has wanted to open a store for a couple years and found the space on Neal Street to be ideal.
“All of my things are one-of-a-kind, and it’s not like I have a giant inventory and need a big store. I was just looking for the right size and space and everything.”
Schwinn had sold items during festivals and markets and for Victorian Christmas in Nevada City, and customers asked to be able to come in and find things year-round.
The storefront provides such accessibility and presents items in a gallery form.
“I feel like shops are magical portals where they can present something to the community and a way for people who haven’t traveled in the orient or a lot of other places,” he said.
“I can bring that flavor to them through textiles, photography and jewelry, so when someone walks in, they are not just shopping but going on a journey through the rest of the world.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.