“During the past month the term armchair travel has taken on a whole new meaning” said Dolores Forsythe, owner of D Forsythe Jewelry in Coronado.
Forsythe built her business with a reputation for sourcing exotic unusual jewelry, icons and embellishments from around the world. During these past 20 years she has traveled extensively all over the world to accumulate a most unusual inventory in her store. Anyone who has visited her store knows it is filled with unique, one-of-a-kind items, filled with color and personality.
However, with the new developments with COVID-19, such as stay in place orders and zero travel, have impacted her business.
“I am one of the small business owners here in Coronado that’s been dramatically impacted by these new developments. My shop has been closed now for almost a month. And of course all my travel plans have been canceled for the unforeseen future. I was planning to go to Morocco in May. I found a guide to take me to the markets and together we had begun to make a list of those places off the beaten path, which is where I usually like to shop. Now that is all been canceled.”
The new stay-at-home challenges have not stopped Forsythe in continuing her business or collecting vast, exclusive items for her store.
“Fortunately, with the relationships that I’ve built over the years with my vendors around the world, I’ll still be able to source interesting new jewelry,” she said. “For example, though India also is in lockdown right now, the lovely family who designs jewelry for me have their factory in their home so they can continue to work. I just ordered some new diamond bangles from them this morning using WhatsApp and Zoom. They are, as I am, grateful to have resources outside of their country to help them continue to do business.”
Forsythe has the knack of finding items for her store from many localities. “I find exotic jewelry everywhere I go, including the antique markets in upstate New York.
“But if there was one place [that would be considered the most exotic], it would probably be Kathmandu, Nepal. Most people go there to trek the Himalayas. Not me. When I visit a new country for the first time I always hire a guide. I like wandering around and finding things on my own but I rarely could get to the kinds of small businesses that make the most unique one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. In this case I hired a Tibetan woman and spent six days riding on the back of her scooter down back alleys, up dirt roads and we even found a place that made beautiful silver dragon jewelry in a woman’s home.”
Forsythe continues to do business with many other countries where she has built relationships. “I’ve been to Istanbul, Turkey, to the grand bazaar so many times I know several jewelry designers there who are willing to make anything I can come up with, but fortunately most of the things they already design are way off the charts to what we’re used to here in the states. For example, they’ll make a pendant that has rusted in gemstones and then put a bronze lobster and a silver butterfly on it. It’s the most outrageous, and I buy them all. They know I like the funky stuff so they save it for me. And usually include a box of Turkish delights in my shipment. Because of the political situation there I haven’t been there in two years and yet I’m in contact with them so often it feels like we could still sit down and have a cup of tea together and not miss a beat. I cherish these old friendships.
“Another of my favorites is Abud, Bali,” said Forsythe. “It’s in the middle of the jungle, in the middle of the country…not near their famous beaches at all, and yet some of the crafts people make there are the best in the world. There’s a woman that I buy from who also designs jewelry for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; that’s how unique her pieces are. All of our communication and transactions are done by cell phone.”
During these extraordinary times, Forsythe wants to continue to work with those who create the pieces in her store. With COVID-19 being global, she knows she has an impact on those she does business with around the world.
“Each country I’ve visited on my quest to find exotic jewelry has in so many ways inspired, challenged and humbled me. I’ve been invited to share meals in the homes of ordinary people, participate in their family celebrations and I always feel safe with them. I feel as if I’m a part of an international family as we continue to stay in contact even when we’re not doing business.”
Forsythe also wants to continue to bring joy to her customers. While the storefront location is currently closed due to the virus, she is relying on her loyal customers, or those who shop for the first time, to help her continue to do business and help support other small businesses around the world. DForsythe Jewelry is available at www.dforsythe.com.