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Downtown: Jewelry designer opens storefront

Kristen Kennedy, left, of Concord, speaks with Laura Darling, a customer, on Saturday afternoon, Decmber 21, 2013 at her shop on Warren Street. A long time fine arts jewelry maker, Kennedy recently moved her home studio to a retail space on in downtown Concord.

(JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Kristen Kennedy, left, of Concord, speaks with Laura Darling, a customer, on Saturday afternoon, Decmber 21, 2013 at her shop on Warren Street. A long time fine arts jewelry maker, Kennedy recently moved her home studio to a retail space on in downtown Concord. (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)

Kristin Kennedy’s unique hand-carved jewelry designs, which showcase pearls and stones she chooses by hand, have long had a following across the country. But until this month, customers and collectors had only a few places to find her work: the annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair, the league’s store in Concord and a shop in Exeter.

Last week, Kennedy, of Concord, opened her first gallery shop at 30A Warren St. In the coming weeks, she plans to move her home studio there too, although Kennedy will continue to sell at the craftsmen’s fair and keep pieces in the two other stores.

Kennedy began looking for a storefront of her own about a year ago because she was creating more than she could show. “There was no place to show a wide variety,” she said Friday. “Here, I can have a wide range” of pieces.

Her pieces are not “punch out perfect,” meaning she handcrafts each necklace, ring, bracelet and earring set. The jewelry reflects that artisan touch. Not only is each piece signed, but the pieces are often as much about sculpture as they are the stones. She said her “Petal” collection, in which she combines delicate petals made of gold with tiny gemstones, has really taken off.

Other pieces include brilliant green uvaroite from Russia, polished South Sea pearls and blue-gray labradorite. Kennedy carves her designs into wax for molding and then solders her pieces together.

About 20 percent of her work is custom and she said she enjoys working with customers on personal designs.

Kennedy has made a couple of recent shopping trips for stones in preparation for her gallery opening. “No one likes to go shopping with me,” she said, “because it takes a long time.”

Kennedy began selling her hand

made jewelry when she was 17, through local stores in her hometown of Tulsa, Okla.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in metals and jewelry design from Northern Arizona University and studied at the Gemological Institute of America in Colorado. Following her studies, Kennedy apprenticed for two years with a goldsmith in Sedona, Ariz.

She started her own jewelry business in 1997 – designing, making and selling from her home – and has been self-employed since.

Kennedy has been in New Hampshire since 2000 and, in addition to the annual fair, has sold her work largely through her website, kristinkennedy.com.

Her sign is coming soon. Until then, look for Kristin Kennedy Fine Jewelry Design across from Granite State Candy Shoppe. She will keep long hours from now until Christmas, she said. She is also open by appointment by calling 387-0706.

Dips delivers

Beginning early next year, you can get your Dips Frozen Yogurt fix without braving the elements – if you’re at a business within 5 miles of the shop.

Nick Harriman, owner of Dips on Main Street, gave delivery a trial run this week and said it went well enough that he will offer it weekdays after the holidays, beginning Jan. 13.

He’ll do the delivering himself and plans to offer it Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during daytime hours. There’s no delivery fee, but orders must total at least $10. And deliveries will be made to businesses, not to residences, he said.

Customers can specify how many ounces of yogurt they want and pick the flavors and toppings. He will also offer pricing for small, medium and large sizes if customers prefer.

Beginning Jan. 13, orders can be placed by calling 856-8588.

Endicott aglow

The orange neon Endicott Hotel sign is once again lighting up the entrance of the historic property, which has been under renovation for more than a year. The 1894 hotel is now a 25-unit apartment building owned by CATCH Neighborhood Housing.

The relighting was done by Glen Schadlick of Ne-Op-Co Signs of Concord, said CATCH spokeswoman Caitlin Murphy. Schadlick’s father worked on the sign more than 60 years ago, and the company has repaired the sign many times over the years, Murphy said in a written statement.

The sign dates back to at least 1938, when it appeared in a newspaper photograph.

Rosemary Heard, president of CATCH, said the relighting of the sign “is truly the finishing touch on this historic renovation.”

(Annmarie Timmins can be reached at 369-3323 or atimmins@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @annmarietimmins.)

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