“I have enough jewelry,” said no one ever. Lucky for the lady in your life who craves all things opulent and bold, there’s Key West Local Luxe jewelry boutique. Founded by local artist and lover of all things shiny, Barb Grob, Key West Local Luxe is a culmination of her lifelong love affair with rocks and sculptures.
“I was always a sculptor,” Grob says. “As a kid, I used to collect leaves and rocks and things and glue them to driftwood, shellac them with Aquanet hairspray, and sell them to the neighbors. I’ve been a ‘rock nerd’ my whole life and started making jewelry at about 18 years old.”
Originally from Jefferson City, Mo., Grob has called Key West her home for more than two decades. You’ll find the tall brunette dripping in jewels from her ears to her hands and everything in between on any given day in Key West. Whether she’s stringing up beads in her studio or biking around the island, you’re guaranteed to find this bauble babe rocking some killer pieces. Her style is totally more is more. Her jewelry is in sync wither her personality — bold, brilliant and fabulous. This Midwest girl knows a thing or two about shiny objects and has been sharing her passion ever since her days of owning Wave Gallery on White Street.
“My first galleries were contemporary and mostly local wall art and sculpture, but jewelry was always my first love and always prominently displayed,” Grob says. “About 10 years ago, I made the decision to go full-on with jewelry. It seemed like a crazy bold move and I guess it was, but this is my true passion and I think people feel that. So they get excited, too. I love what I do and now we have clients who have been with us for years, some of them decades, and newcomers, too.”
The jewelry emporium is located just footsteps away from the hustle and bustle of Duval Street. (Don’t worry, there are definitely margaritas nearby!) Located at 515 Fleming St. in the fab 500-block of Old Town, Key West Local Luxe is a must-stop on your list of places to go on the island (and bonus – it’s calorie-free!). Once you set foot into the boutique you’re greeted by Grob and her adorable pink (yes, I said pink) silky terrier named Gee and her honey, Tim Lorber. The dynamic duo (plus pup) will guide you into finding something that will catch your attention.
Like a raccoon, I was easily distracted amongst all the lustrous goods. As a former high-end jeweler-turned-writer myself, I can admire and respect Grob’s work. She is an artist in every sense of the word. While you shop for that special piece, she is quietly curating her next collection behind the counter. The best part? She’s an experienced personal shopper, so she’ll find the perfect gift for you and can often customize your selections, too. From earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings made locally by Grob or created for the space by hand-selected artisans, you’re sure to go home with a one-of-a-kind Key West find.
“This giant selection of jewelry is arranged by price, category and color for enjoyable shopping, which makes it easy to find the perfect fit or gift for any occasion,” Grob explains.
“Thousands of beautiful baubles at surprising values can be found in our wall of ‘Wonders Under $100’ and even on the higher end, the finest exotics like our ‘Rikitea Bribe’ Tahitian Pearls, one-of-a-kind works of art in diamond, tourmaline, gold and gem creations. The real thing at the best price and the most unique is what we do!”
With the year coming to a close and the holidays just wrapping up, you should stop in and visit the powerhouse that is Grob and treat yourself to what you really wish Santa had brought you this holiday season. (We know, diamonds are a girl’s best friend!) Don’t worry, we won’t tell. And if you’re lucky enough to be in town on the first Friday of every month, you should block off your evening and spend it on the fab 500-block of Fleming, Key West’s 100% locally-owned business block, as they host “1st Fridays On Fleming” from 6-9 p.m.
“All the shops, galleries, boutiques, bars and eateries on our block will be staying open late and serving up special offerings, like opening receptions and new collections, meet the artist events, book signings, jewelry trunk shows, tastings and treats,” Grob says. “There will be music in the streets and excitement in the air and libations, of course! We wanted to offer up something fun and different that’s family-friendly and welcoming to our guests, too. It’s good for our community, something to look forward to every month — a chance to spruce up and offer something special.”
And in case you were skeptical, it’s true that all of the businesses located on the 500-block of Fleming Street are 100% locally owned and operated. With something for everyone — from a delicious ham and cheese croissant with an iced latte at La Grignote (I particularly love the basil lemonade), to fashion, drinks and books at Key West Island Books (shameless plug — you can purchase my latest book!) — this block has something with your name on it.
Key West Local Luxe has called Fleming Street home for more than 10 years. The nooks and crannies of the shop are filled with the accessories you’ve been longing to own. With every square inch filled up by the finest in jewels, it’s every woman’s dream to be locked inside. Guys, leave your lady here and cruise over to The Roost for a beverage … she’s going to be a while.
“’We make women happy’ is not just a tag line, it was an epiphany I had at a time when I was overworked and becoming a little jaded,” Grob says. “I finally remembered why I do what I do and that’s what got me through. Since then, it’s become our mantra, and life (and business) have gotten increasingly more awesome ever since.”
Jewelry always fits. Don’t just take it from me. I only wear jewelry on days ending with “y.” Ask any woman and she’ll tell you that life is simply too short to be wearing boring jewelry. Do yourself and that outfit you’ve been dying to wear a favor and accessorize to the max at Key West Local Luxe. Tell her Jenny sent you. ¦