Hidden gems from around the world – available in the Valley

Unique jewelry is a great gift for birthdays and celebrations. More people are looking for sustainably made and ethically-sourced jewelry than ever before, and at Le BonNton Home Decor and Gifts in Northampton, you can find one-of-a-kind items that have been hand-picked by owner Cigdem Turkomer.

“I don’t have an online store,” Turkomer said. “[The jewelry] should be one of a kind, it should be touched. It’s all handmade and handcrafted.”

Le BonNton just celebrated its one-year anniversary in May. While jewelry isn’t her primary focus, Turkomer loves working with local and foreign artists and craftspeople to provide a unique selection of goods to the clientele of her Northampton store.

“In this country there are beautiful, talented jewelry designers. It’s unbelievable; I think they are the best in the world,” Turkomer said.

Turkomer only moved to the United States a few years ago after going to school in the Valley during college and then working in the film industry in Turkey. It was her work as a prop finder for international film crews that led to her having many personal relationships with artists across the globe. One artist she works with made the leather shoes that were used in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies and in the movie Troy. The shoes are now sold in her Northampton store.

“I mostly work with U.S. companies, especially women-owned companies that help other communities, but I also have very special artists who I get in touch with in person,” Turkomer said.

Turkomer pointed out one set of jewelry made out of antique cloth and buttons hanging up on the wall of the shop. She also mentioned that The Muse Group is one of her favorite designers. The Muse Group is a woman-run group of artisans from Côte d’Ivoire that makes jewelry out of recycled and organic materials.

“They only use organic things that they find, like seashells, termite shells, coffee beans, and recycled glass,” Turkomer said. “It’s really powerful what they do, and the designs — people love it. They have very traditional but contemporary designs. I love them.”

Turkomer said that because of her relationships with the artists, every piece in her shop is totally unique. Like all of the accessories and home decor items in her shop, every piece of jewelry is handcrafted and unlike any other.

“When people buy these I get goosebumps because I know who [the money] is going to,” Turkomer said.