Verameat jewelry brings edge to LA
From the bustling crowds of people carrying large shopping bags to the countless brand-name stores lining the street, South Beverly Drive offers all the glamour of Beverly Hills and, just recently, a little something you canâ€™t find anywhere else on the West Coast.
It might be easy to walk down the busy boulevard without noticing the new jewelry store on the block â€” or at least it would be, were it not for the eye-catching display in the front window of Verameat.
Through the window, it is immediately apparent that Verameat is not your motherâ€™s jewelry shop. From the sparkling pieces of jewelry that adorn disembodied white hands hanging from the ceiling to the bright red floor and stark white walls, Verameat pushes the boundaries of design.
Inside, the minimalist, eccentric decor combined with the sounds of indie bands and old favorites â€” a mix of Foster the People and Beach House interspersed with The Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan â€” gives the store a laid-back, effortlessly cool vibe. Even the displays in the store are artistically edgy and animalistic. A ring can be found in the open mouth of an alligator, a necklace hanging from the antlers of a deer.
If Verameat sounds familiar, it is because the chain, which was launched four years ago, has several stores on the East Coast. This is the chainâ€™s first West Coast location, though.
Each piece in the store is handcrafted from ecologically sound, recycled silver and pure 14-karat gold. The quality of the jewelry is undeniable, but it is the designs that make the pieces unforgettable.
From a dinosaur dangling at the end of a necklace to skeleton hands forming bracelet, each piece of jewelry is disarmingly cute and unexpected.
The individual flair of the jewelry personifies the founder of Verameat, Vera Balyura. The Ukrainian-born designer spent her lifetime traveling the world, accruing interesting stories and developing the quirky spirit that shines through in her jewelry.
When asked to describe Balyuraâ€™s style in one word, Katherine To, an employee at Verameat Beverly Hills chose â€śphantasmagorical.â€ť
Balyuraâ€™s influences come from her motherâ€™s jewelry collection, her grandfatherâ€™s miniature woodcarvings and her unconventional experiences growing up. At 14 years old, Balyura signed onto an elite modeling agency in Paris and moved out on her own. In the years that followed she lived in a number of European countries and finally ended up in New York.
While in New York, she dallied in various artistic endeavors before discovering her talent for jewelry design. In this spirit, Balyura continues to expand her brand and to explore the world of jewelry with no limitations to where she can go with her unique, edgy style.
To said Balyuraâ€™s work is unique because, though the pieces are autobiographical, they are also relevant to shoppers coming into Verameat.
â€śEach piece is a unique story in Veraâ€™s life and has the same ability to transform the wearerâ€™s life,â€ť To said.
An unorthodox â€śDino Eating Fried Chickenâ€ť ring was one of the many pieces that To said illustrated Balyuraâ€™s quirky side.
â€śI have a fascination with items that are either too small or too large and Veraâ€™s collection plays on that idea,â€ť To said. â€śThe jewelry brings out my child-like curiosity.â€ť
When asked what her favorite Verameat piece of jewlery was, To chose the Mystery Hug ring, which was given to her when she started at working at the store.
â€ś[The ring] marked the culmination of a new business, new friends and new changes in my life.â€ť To said. â€śItâ€™s like my finger is getting hugged every time I wear it.â€ť
To, who was wearing several pieces from the Verameat collection, said she also particularly loves the minute details that go into each piece as well as the sensation that sheâ€™s wearing art.
The fun individuality of Balyuraâ€™s pieces has caught the attention of many prominent fashion figures, as well as celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian and Zach Galifianakis. The Kardashian sister chose the â€śBad Ass Knuckle Duster For Girls,â€ť a surprisingly delicate ring with a dangerous flair, while Galifianakis has been seen wearing the Dino ring, which has earned its own share of laughs.
Each month, Verameat hosts a store party at their location in Beverly Hills. At this time, Verameat fans can take advantage of discounts on the jewelry and mingle with others who like to indulge their quirky side. With the Verameat jewelry, known for its tendency to function as an icebreaker and hanging off every corner of the small, chic store, thereâ€™s likely to be some great conversations to be had â€” and maybe even some celebrity sightings. The next party will take place on Feb. 12 from 5-8 p.m.
With a queue of devoted fans and wealthy celebrity customers, one might expect a large price tag attached to Verameatâ€™s gold and silver pieces. The prices are surprisingly affordable though. Of course, some of the items, such as the â€śDino Love Boneâ€ť necklace, costing $320, might be a one-time splurge. Still, many of the pieces, such as the â€śScrewâ€ť ring, at only $20, are at a much more accessible price point.
Whether making an investment or an impulse buy, Verameat jewelry, with its heirloom-esque style and uniqueness, is not a fashion statement that will go out of style anytime soon.