Cleveland’s Best Jeweler – Antrobus Designs
Peter Antrobus and I go way back – back to the mid-90s, when I was in high school and the Antrobus family moved into the house two doors down from us. While I was finishing high school and applying to college, I spent much of my free time at their house watching their three girls. I went away to college and they moved about 20 minutes away, but I still saw them every time I came home and remained close with the family. The artistic talent in these 5 people is just mind blowing. For a math/science girl like me, it has been downright awesome to watch these three girls grow up in a totally opposite way from how I did. All three of them have artistic talent I could never dream of. I guess it’s not terribly surprising, given that these kids were inspired every day watching their parents run a successful small business. But the Antrobus family business isn’t just any kind of small business. They make their living running something that is REALLY HARD – a boutique upscale jewelry store, and they’ve been doing it successfully for over 20 years. They opened in 1998 and have been going strong ever since. If you haven’t been there yet, I’ll give you a few good reasons to check them out ASAP, because handmade jewelry takes time and because you need to plant those seeds NOW for Mother’s Day if you want Pete to work his magic for you.
Peter Antrobus is soft-spoken British ex-pat and a classically trained goldsmith as well as a lovely human being. Like all great skilled craftsman, he’s a perfectionist. He doesn’t wholesale. He doesn’t advertise. His customers find him, and that’s how he likes it. He dedicates considerable time and energy into every piece brought to him, from the smallest of repairs to custom commissions for carousels with moving parts (yes, he’s actually built that). His personal style is distinctive, but his raw talent is not. I am not exaggerating when I say that Pete can bring your vision to life no matter what it is, and he does so with an attention to detail that is inspiring to watch. I’ll give you three personal stories to prove my point.
My Wedding Set
When my husband proposed to me, he didn’t have a ring. He had 3 rings that were given to him by his mother – the engagement ring that his father used to propose to his mother (his father passed away many years ago and his mother is re-married) and two diamond bands. He proposed by taking me into Antrobus Designs and handing Pete these rings, then telling me (and Pete, and Pete’s wife, Melissa) to design the ring of my dreams. Pretty incredible, right??
My husband’s intention was to purchase a larger center stone for the ring (the largest stone in what we had was a little over 1/2 carat), but I was adamant that we not do that. Melissa was very much opposed to my engagement ring having such a small center stone and was very much the driving force behind Pete designing something that made that center stone stand out and look much larger than it actually was. I knew I wanted something fairly traditional but with rose gold featured somehow. Cleveland’s best jeweler designed the PERFECT wedding set – and because I was present from day 1, we chose the entire wedding set together (although I got the engagement ring well before the wedding bands).
This is my actual wedding set – Pete designed it for me (and now others can buy it too – you’re welcome world).
But what’s even more awesome about this design is how durable it is. Check out the unreal craftsmanship on the engagement ring – the halo is a real work of art – literally. We stop into Antrobus Designs probably once every 6 weeks or so to say hi (my husband and kids both get their hair cut next door because we love Adam, plus Target is around the corner, so it’s pretty conveniently located) and every time I hand my jewelry over to Pete for inspection, adjustment, and a nice steam clean. He rarely has to adjust anything but always cleans them so they shine & I’m reminded of just how gorgeous they are. I am HARD on my hands, I always have been, and in the 5+ years I’ve had this ring, no stone has so much as wiggled. It’s solid – and gorgeous. Pete performs this service for every piece of jewelry he sells. The last thing any good jeweler wants is for something they created to lose stones.
My Husband’s Wedding Band
Men don’t have the same attachment to jewelry as women as a general rule, but when my husband announced that he wanted to buy his wedding band for $12 off Amazon, I was not pleased. His argument was solid – why should we spend hundreds (maybe even thousands) of dollars on a band made of precious metals if we don’t have to? My argument was that a wedding band should not be easily replaceable. I wanted him to have a little sweat equity in his wedding band, enough of an investment to panic at least a little bit if he lost it. Cleveland’s best jeweler to the rescue again. My mother in law gave my husband his parents’ wedding bands when she re-married, and we took them to Pete, asking if he could somehow create a simple white gold band from the material. As it turns out, he has an entire collection of jewelry made from recycled gold, and this was a fairly simple task for him. So that’s what we did – and we had Pete create simple disc necklaces stamped with our wedding date created for both of our mothers with the gold we had remaining from all the rings. Pretty epic win all around.
In Memory of …
Cleveland’s best jeweler came to my rescue again when I lost my companion of 14 years, my border collie, in the fall of 2016. I got Ash when I was 22, a lowly graduate student at Virginia Tech, and she’d been with me through thick and thin ever since. I was heartbroken when we lost her, and still am sometimes when I think about it. We spread her ashes at her favorite place, but I wanted something more significant to remember her by. I kept envisioning an Ohio necklace with a diamond marking place we scattered her ashes, so I of course went to Pete to see if he would be able to create something like that, again from recycled gold. This time he crafted my suggestion exactly – and engraved the back of the necklace with her name and the years she lived. Later that year, my sister in law lost her longtime canine companion as well, and we had one made for her, too. I haven’t seen her without that necklace on since we gave it to her. This is far from the most complex piece Pete has crafted for the bereft. It’s actually a fairly common request to have small amounts of a person’s ashes encased in jewelry, and Pete’s crafted some beautiful memorials throughout the years. I love my simple one, though.
The Mother’s Necklace
If you ever meet me, you will probably notice that I’m always wearing my Mother’s necklace. When I had my first child, my husband of course went to Pete to commemorate the occasion. The Mother’s Necklace was born of that interaction. It is a very simple disc design with a separate birthstone charm. I have two of them, one for Everett (in white gold) and one for Elliott (in yellow gold). Their birth dates are stamped on the back, one stone is green (in white gold), the other blue (in yellow gold). The picture below (the one featured on their website) was made for one of my closest friends when her daughter was born, and I remain jealous of the rose gold, which I think it just gorgeous. She loved my necklace so much that she had Pete create one for her many states away (he ships, in case anyone is wondering!). She also has another in white gold for her older son, and we both wear all our charms on the same chain. My chain has one additional charm – a tiny stamped disc that Pete gave me years ago that I like to think belongs to the Antrobus girls. They are the girls in my life, so of course they get a place among my kids too 🙂
I’d be a terrible loyal fan if all I ever did for Cleveland’s best jeweler was bring him custom work, so rest assured, I do not! I wear three pieces of jewelry every. single. day – my wedding set, my mother’s necklace, and my bubble ring. Fun story about the bubble ring, too. It was a first anniversary present from my husband, but on our first anniversary, I was VERY pregnant with our older son (he was born a week later). Nothing fit my swollen hands and I was in mid-panic about never being able to wear my wedding set again. My husband, bless him, talked with Melissa about all my concerns and decided I needed a new piece of jewelry that would fit, even if my current rings wouldn’t. Enter the bubble ring. But rather than giving me the ring, he and Melissa hatched a clever plan to stay within the bounds of the paper anniversary guidelines. He gave me a paper Antrobus Designs box with a paper print-out of the ring, which made my gift of playing cards seem woefully under-thought, but I loved it. I wasn’t allowed (per Pete’s orders) to get sized for the ring until 3 months after my son was born. Blessedly everything returned to pre-pregnancy size pretty quickly, and I truly love this ring.
Nothing showcases raw talent like designer collections, and Pete has a few of them. My bubble ring is a part of his Bubble collection, but he also has a designer collection, a Pave collection, and of course, the recycled gold collection. His style has evolved a lot over the 20 years he’s been in business, and some of the pieces on display at his store show that evolution. Do yourself a favor and actually visit his store. Like most artisans, his craft is best appreciated in person.
Antrobus Designs is located at 2247 Warrensville Center Road in University Heights in a very nondescript shopping plaza, right across the street from Geraci’s and down the plaza from Bialy’s Bagels. They’re open Tuesday – Saturday starting at 10AM. Bring your big ideas, and your broken jewelry, while you’re at it. Tell him I sent you!
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