I have just received a wonderful new selection of sterling silver enameled cufflinks which I recommend everyone to take a look! The company I buy from is a mother son business and they have been creating these beautiful cufflinks for many years now. I usually had bought just the traditional American flag paired up with another country’s flag but I decided to add a lot of variety to my collection.
I have always had a special affinity for cufflinks due to their ability to make great personal gifts that never go out of style. When customers come in looking for a gift for their young sons or infants, I usually strongly suggest cufflinks. Here is why: even though they may be too young to appreciate it now, when they grow up, it will become one of their most valuable possessions as it will be a gift that their parents gave them when they were very young – and what could be more dear and special than that? They will get many great gifts over the years – toys, books, clothes and so on – but those will all come and go. However, to have a pair of cufflinks that their parents bought them when they were born or very young, this will have tremendous meaning for them when they are older. It will be a token of their childhood and their parents with them, when they go on and take on the world on their own.
However, cufflinks are not just great gifts for the young. We have American flag cufflinks which make great diplomatic gifts or gifts for those in the government. We also have American flags linked with a flag of another country such as the United Kingdom or Spain. What better way to show friendship and solidarity with another country?
We have many wonderful looks from diplomatic to the more traditional colored enamel look. So feel free to come on by or write/call us to see more designs and varieties!
I am very excited to announce the completion of our remodelling of the Gallery! As you can see from the picture, the Gallery is looking very smart! In remodelling we have been able to achieve a much better use of space in the Gallery and our corporate room has had a major upgrade!
The impetus for the rethinking came about as a result of our having two leases and two landlords for our store. The smaller adjacent room it turned out belonged to a second landlord. This had not been evident when we intially moved in 17 years ago. It was only in the aftermath of our fire in 2006 that we landed with two leases. In the advent of the new economy and our wish to keep things simple and more affordable, we decided to consolidate into 2922 M Street and remodeled.
The process of thinking about the remodel has been a tremendous stimulus to rethinking how and what we present going into this decade of the 21st Century. I am excited at the prospect of bringing to you the best the world has to offer in our core area of gifts and fashion jewelry/accessories. We are inspired and refreshed and ready to bring on our best game!
This candle stick was designed and created in Italy by Devecchi
Over the past fifteen years I have had the priveledge of curating some of the very best silver objects of our period. This culminated in two very special exhibitions of Italian Modern Silver in 1999 and British Modern Silver in 2001. As we pass into the second decade of the 21st century, I am aware that we have entered a new phase for silver design – one which is infinitely more challenging (due in part to tastes and costs). But first some background! My love of silver was rooted in its wonderful sculptural forms, its dependance on skilled craftsmanship which took years to develop, and its seemingly timeless quality. One could study the past, look at how centuries of ideas were realised, and then evaluated what one saw today. I had always been interested in history and was fascinated by the prospect of being able to pick out what would be the great pieces of my generation – what would be the equivalent of the Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, or Art Deco of other periods. Having spent quite an amount of time visiting museums where prominent silver was displayed dating as far back as the 1200s, I was able to appreciate the silver of today and create an eye for which silver was leading our generation. And just as I drew from the past, I often wondered what future generations might draw from our generation when they chose to create their own contemporary pieces. Over the past fifteen years it is my hope that I picked the winners of our generation!
British Silver Standing Spoons by Howard Fenn
However, as we enter the second decade, forces are at work which are diminushing this once great artform. Fewer and fewer stores carry silver, preferring alternative metal forms from India and China. Increasingly, silver is out of flavor with its need for occassional polishing. The costs of producing silver objects has skyrocketed as commodity prices and silver in particular have soared by four to five times, making sterling silver objects prohibitive. This has led to a severe contraction of the manufacturing base including those willing to take on creating silver as both an art form and a a profession. This is all very sad because as an Italian expression goes:
“One measures one’s wealth in gold and one’s culture in silver”
Tastes come and go, but it seems we are witnessing the demise of an age old medium for expression of our times. Ironically silver is forever! Once created, silver lives forever!
This tea set comes from India and was created by Ravissant
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah pose and share smiles with Keith and Adam Lipert of the Keith Lipert Gallery at the Jefferson Hotel. Photo courtesy of WHCInsider.
As the newest edition to the Keith Lipert Gallery, I thought I would take this space to introduce myself and discuss an event my father and I attended that we were fortunate enought to be a part of - as result of being shopkeepers in the wonderful world of retail in Georgetown and Washington D.C.
My name is Adam Lipert and I am Keith’s son – and as I like to tease him – future successor of the Keith Lipert Gallery. Although I assure him I am not planning any coup d’etats anytime soon! I received my undergraduate degree in International Relations and Counter Terrorism and I am now pursuing my Masters in Global Security at Johns Hopkins University. Due to my academic credentials, I naturally decided to pursue a day job in fashion jewelry and modern decorative art. Each day that I come in the store, I like to think that I am coming a day closer to finding that perfect median between counter terrorism and unique fashion jewelry. The truth is that, due to our location in Washington D.C., my father has had the ability to meet many foreign leaders who have taken refuge in our store to find wonderful items for their homes and spouses. The global nature of the items we carry in the store and the international make up of our customers provides us with a unique experience that we cherish. One of those world leaders who my father has been able to grow a friendship with over the years is former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his lovely wife Sarah.
Gordon Brown's fantastic book: Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalization. Photo courtesy of WHCInsider
This past Saturday they were making an appearance at the Jefferson Hotel, where Mr. Brown was doing an event for his new book “Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalization,” and my father was kindly invited. When my father invited me, I was ecstatic because this is the political world I adore. However, just as little kids are told to keep their hands to themselves, I was instructed to keep my political opinions to myself if I wanted to continue to be a part of the Keith Lipert Gallery.
Photo courtsey of WHCInsider
The event was fantasitc! However, there was one point that really made me smile and that was seeing my father and Mr. Brown share a personal moment together – two men who are well known in their fields, but are also “just two dads“. As a shopkeeper, my father gets to share relaxed, and more personal connections with political leaders who come in the store and are not under the political limelight. So upon hearing “Oh, hello Keith, so great to see you again” from Sarah Brown and then Gordon Brown , I thought “What a unique experience to be a part of!” It was especially touching to hear Mr. Brown speak briefly earlier about his connection with his son and how his son keeps telling him “Now you get to be just dad!” While my father is not as well known as the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he is certainly well known in Washington D.C. for many different things. However being able to share this “political and literature world meets fashion jewelry world” with my own “just dad” is a great thing for me to be able to experience.
This is why my father chose to name this blog “Tales from a Georgetown Shopkeeper” because nowhere else does one get to sell items from all over the world during the day, and share a personal moment with the Prime Minister and his wife in the evening. True to his word, my father introduced himself to the guests that night as “a Georgetown shopkeeper!” Ofcourse I was as startled to hear him say that as they were. But when Mr. Brown and my father were sharing that moment together, I imagined them saying “Yes, Prime Minister. Yes Mr. Shopkeeper.”
Below is a small video clip from the TV show “Yes Prime Minister” – a popular British satirical comedy series from the late 80s.
I have always had a thing for sheep, which was probably due to my childhood growing up near the English countryside where seeing wonderful sheep line the hills and farm lands is the norm. For someone who has lived more of their life outside of their country of birth, the sheep has always been a great remembrance for me of my childhood.
About twenty-five years ago, while working in wholesale and supplying a long gone Detroit department store, I had found these wonderful little wooden sheep in a store near by. They had been made in Germany from wool, and the hair on the little sheep was made from actual sheep’s wool. My mother, at that time had just moved to the countryside and therefore she was surrounded by more sheep than people. The sheep from her area were actually called the “Burwash Beauties” (on a more morbid note I think that had more to do with the quality of their meat than the sheep themselves). Well, I knew I had to get one for my mother and I did – for the sake of this meaningful blog post, I do hope she kept and treasured it!
Years passed, and I had lost contact with the supplier but I had always wanted to find them again because I thought these sheep were so great! Finally, on my most recent trip to Frankfurt on a buying business trip for new and existing fashion jewelry and modern decorative art for the store, I found the sheep! I was so excited and happy, that I did not just get one like last time – but all seventy five that were displayed!
I had originally gotten my mother the white sheep but for every family there is the “black sheep” and so I bought quite a few of those as well! Anyways, long story short, they are now displayed in my store in the window with a sheep herder/Jewish Hassid/Amish (depending on your cultural preferrences) standing behind them!
“The Shepard always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same”
My store window secured the day after the attempted break in
One of the worst experiences of being a shopkeeper is getting the call from the police or alarm center in the middle of the night informing you that your store windows have been broken in! This is what happened to me at 3 am on Thanksgiving morning! To make matters worse, I received the call while away on vacation in Amarillo, Texas while visiting my fiance’s family for their Thanksgiving reunion.
“This is a shopkeepers worst nightmare!”
In an instant all my worst fears cascaded through my mind – the place being robbed, things being destroyed or broken – expensive damages! Thankfully, it turned out that only the window had been smashed and there had not been a forced entry and theft. However, I was in Texas and I could not come to secure the store and the police officer could only wait between twenty and thirty minutes!
“Thankfully, help was on its way..”
Adam trying to put on a happy face even though its 3 am on Thanksgiving morning
Luckily, I was able to get through to my son, Adam who heroically managed to get to the store in time, secure the place, locate a glass repair person to come down to the store at 530 am, clean up the mess and repair the windows – all in three hours! What a relief! The day was saved – thank you Adam! I would also like to thank the Officer Andelman and the Metropolitan Police Department for helping my son and I and also Dean of District Window and Glass Repair for fixing our window in our hour of need!
Last thursday, I had the wonderful opportunity to host a NFTE event at my gallery! For those who do not know, NFTE stands for the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship www.nfte.com. Their mission is to inspire young individuals from low income communities to value their education by staying in school and then recognizing business opportunities that exist while planning for a successful future. NFTE began their journey in 1987 and were founded by a former math teacher named Steve Mariotti. His idea was to prevent drop outs and help students improve their academic standings. Steve caught on to something amazing: that students from low income communities tend to have innate “street smarts” which often can be translated into fantastic business making skills. NFTE has had an amazing impact on students helping them realize the value of staying in school. It was for these reasons I jumped at the opportunity to do an event with them.
In Washington D.C., NFTE is represented by the wonderful Julie Kantor. In discussing with Julie, we thought it would be lovely to do something for the “Women of NFTE”, something that would be joyful, an opportunity to meet and enjoy a fun evening .
Over fifty women of NFTE showed up! It was a great evening. The Bobbi Brown team from Chevy Chase were on hand to do make up and touch ups. The ladies enjoyed champagne, food, and playing dress up with our exquisite fashion jewelry. In addition the Ratner Companies provided a fabulous goodie bag filled with various hair products.
A big thank you to our very own Julie Band, Kristen Bloom of Bobbi Brown, Julie Kantor and Kate Palmer of NFTE and Dennis Ratner. I look forward to doing many more events with those from our community!
Keith Lipert was born in London, England and moved to the United States in 1980. From there he began a career in the field of gift giving beginning with the wholesale side and finally opening his own shop in 1994. Today, Keith runs his store in Georgetown, Washington D.C. where he sells exquisite and unique fashion jewelry and modern decorative art. Keith travels all over the world to find the products he has whether it is Lake Cuomo, Italy or Paris, France. Asked if he could name three words to describe his business and his life in Georgetown, he responded "Culture. Art. Joy".