BY MARK KEAST

Taking a tour through Knar Jewellery’s Toronto location at Avenue Rd. and Bloor St. W., in the heart of the city’s luxury retail epicentre, shoppers can experience first hand the finest in diamonds, engagement rings, wedding bands, women’s and men’s jewellery, timepieces, and many other accessories. 

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The SOHO Jewellery collection at the store, though – there is uniqueness all on its own. SOHO calls itself “The Art of Enamel”, and it’s not hard to see why. The collection is comprised of meticulously handcrafted Italian bracelets, bangles and necklaces, durable and lustrous pieces in karat gold or sterling silver, in a wide selection of vibrant colours, some set around brilliant cut diamonds.

SOHO clientele tend to be women of all ages who are fashionable, love art and think young. The SOHO collection looks amazing in the showcase but once a woman tries it on, they fall in love with it, buy it and often return for two or three more over time.

Jeff and Greg Buzbuzian, owners of Knar Jewellery, founded the business in Guelph, Ontario in 1979.

The brothers remember the exact moment they came across SOHO – 20 years earlier at a design show in Italy.  They were looking for something their clients had never seen before but hadn’t come across anything.

Then Jeff saw a Sophia Loren-lookalike across the floor in a coffee shop, speaking with four men. He noticed the fur coat she was wearing, then the long flowing sleeves of the coat, which revealed a stunning “stack” of colourful enamel bracelets, as she raised her arm in conversation.

“I said, “AMAZING, that’s it’,” he says. After asking her where she purchased the bracelets, Jeff and Greg were off to find the artisans of what they soon discovered was SOHO, humble designers and craftspeople, tucked in a non-descript location at the show. There began a 20-year relationship between Knar Jewellery and SOHO.

“We hand-selected a rather large order,” he says. “We were really passionate about it. And we have carried it ever since.”

Each SOHO creation utilizes a proprietary technique and finish that fuses ancient metals with gemstone pigment creating the eye-catching enamel. SOHO jewellery can be mixed and matched with any fashion ensemble, removing or adding a bangle or two.

SOHO used to make the jewellery only in gold. Now they have added sterling silver which makes them very affordable while maintaining their rare lifetime warranty.

“People that buy them like their own personal style,” Jeff says. “They like to be fresh. It’s more about creating an eclectic look that can stir conversations. There is definitely drama to these pieces. But all of them are tasteful. It’s an ancient art. The imagination of Italians is hard to beat, especially when it comes to fashion and jewellery.”

Head here to take a look at Knar’s collection of SOHO jewellery, or visit their Toronto store at Avenue Rd. and Bloor St. W.