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You could travel to New York City's 47th Street to search for a selection of fine, costume and antique jewelry or you could just stay close to home in the District, where I found a cache of five family and individually owned stores that offer enough variety and quality to suit the most discriminating tastes and budgets.

These local gems have been doing business in the D.C. area for at least 10 to 15 years. The most long-standing, the Tiny Jewel Box, has been here for the past 75 under the ownership of James Rosenheim's family. TJB started out selling exclusively estate and vintage jewelry but has expanded over the years to include 70 artists, from the very established David Yurman to the up-and-coming Lauren Harper. The niche of I. Gorman Jewelers, also family owned, is, according to Adam Gorman, "unexpected, refreshing designs," that mix alternative metals with precious stones. Although Ellen Reiben's Jewelers Werk is officially an art gallery -- not a store -- every piece of the innovative contemporary jewelry by international artists is for sale. Justine Mehlman herself is a treasure of knowledge about jewelry; her collection specializes in antiques but also includes some special modern pieces. Last but not least the Iranian-born Tabandeh, whose eponymous store is in an unlikely location (across from a McDonald's in Mazza Gallerie), features fun and trendy jewelry along with the more expensive and handcrafted. -- Janet Bennett Kelly

PRODUCER: Janet Bennett Kelly - washingtonpost.com
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