Have you ever peeked in the window of D. Cole Jewelers when walking around Portland’s Old Port? Intrigued by who, exactly, D. Cole is and the story behind this Portland mainstay, we’re happy to feature the voice of Lindsey Cole, daughter-in-law of the shop’s owners.
L&L: D. Cole has been a staple in the Old Port for as long as we can remember. Can you tell us about the history of D. Cole?
COLE: D. Cole Jewelers is a small, family owned and operated jewelry store in the Old Port of Portland, Maine since 1981. It was started by Dean and Denise Cole after they had been selling jewelry at craft shows in college and over their summers starting in 1977. They opened their first seasonal store in 1980 in Saco and moved to the Old Port in 1981. They have remained there and expanded twice within the same space. Their family has grown to include their son Ryan, daughter Emily, Denise’s brother Jeff, sister-in law Rhonda during seasonal times and myself.
L&L: Do you specialize in a certain type of jewelry?
COLE: Actually, we don’t specialize in anything; it’s one of the nice things about D. Cole. We carry items starting at $20 in sterling silver all the way to $30,000 diamond and Platinum rings. One thing that all of our jewelry has in common is that we feel it has good value, meaning high quality with reasonable prices. We have a wide variety of material from silver, white and yellow gold, platinum, and palladium to multiple precious and semi-precious stones and diamonds.
L&L: What are some of your most popular pieces?
COLE: Our signature item is the Tree of Life design that we’ve been making for over twenty years. We also carry Pandora bracelets that have been extremely popular these last few years. We have many engagement ring settings that are unique to us. The Fleur de Lis is a single stone engagement ring which was designed to be extremely durable but not too heavy.
L&L: You offer custom jewelry. How does that process work?
COLE: At D. Cole Jewelers, we specialize in beautifully handcrafted platinum, gold, and sterling silver pieces. Our 3 on staff jewelers create custom one of a kind pieces as designed by our customers. Our competitive pricing is due to the fact that we design and manufacture our own pieces. All of the repair work and custom designing that we do is all done in house at our visible jeweler’s shop that you can see when visiting the store. The jewelers are able to design with wax carving, casting, polishing, stone setting, and much more. We guarantee all of our work and will stand by our pieces whether it is repair or cleaning that you need.
L&L: Traditionally an engagement ring has been a diamond on a gold band, but times have changed. What are some of the latest trends you are seeing?
COLE: We still see a lot of traditional solitaire engagement rings. Most brides are choosing white metals such as white gold or platinum. One of the largest trends we have seen lately has been antique styled pieces, some with engraving and millgrain details. More popular styles mix antique techniques with more modern styles. The newest trend would be halo settings which feature a ring of small diamonds around the center stone. We’re also seeing many people choosing sapphires in place of diamonds. Sapphire, made popular by Princess Diana’s ring, is the only colored stone we use in engagement rings because of its durability.
L&L: The idea of wearing jewelry can be completely new for some men. Any tips for these guys making this new adjustment?
COLE: It is very common for men to need some time to adjust to wearing wedding bands. It is important to try on a lot of rings and think about how it is going to feel every day. Some designs are less comfortable than others so finding a style that you like that can also feel comfortable is very important.
L&L: Taking care of your jewelry is so important. What types of services do you offer after purchase? Do you have any tips for at home care?
COLE: We offer free ring cleanings and cleanings of any of our pieces (unless something very drastic happens that requires extensive work). We sell a silver liquid cleaner and a gold/gemstone cleaner for $5 if you want to clean your items at home with something more than a polishing cloth. For at home care, we recommend taking rings off when working in the garden or doing dishes and very hands on things like that. It’s also recommended that jewelry is removed when going in pools and hot tubs. With sterling silver pieces, it’s good to store them in plastic zip lock bags to slow the inevitable oxidizing process. Polishing cloths work wonders on tarnished pieces. A general rule of thumb with pearls is that they are the last thing you put on (after hair and makeup) and the first thing taken off. See our website for more jewelry care tips!
L&L: Do you have some gift ideas from your store that brides and grooms can give to their wedding party?
COLE: One of our most popular bridal gifts is a simple pearl necklace and matching earrings in the color(s) of your wedding. Men can do money clips with initials engraved into them or key chains.
L&L: What “must-see” places and eateries do you suggest folks from out of town check out while visiting coastal Maine?
COLE: There are so many great things to see and do in our wonderful state, especially the restaurants in downtown Portland. Some of our favorites are The Front Room, The Grill Room, Fore Street, Street and Company, Walters, and many, many more! There are lots of great beaches and lighthouses to visit such as Portland Head Light.
L&L: Thank you for giving us an inside peek into D. Cole. If readers want to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to reach you?
COLE: We are very easy to reach either by phone or email. You can send us an email right from our home page at www.dcolejewelers.com under “Contact”. Our phone number is (207)772-5119 and the address for emails is firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos taken by Liz Donnelly. We highly recommend her for weddings also.