People passing through Fenwick Island may have noticed more shimmer and sparkle since Sophia’s Fine Jewelry opened its doors Dec. 4, 2014, offering one-of-a-kind jewelry, service, and most importantly, a chance to make precious memories.
“We want to create memories for people,” said managing partner Byron Anthony. “We want to leave people with a good feeling when they come in and when they leave. We want them to feel safe and secure, and feel good about what they purchased for their loved one.”
Presented by Kokkinos Creative Jewelers, which has been operating for more than 30 years in Ocean City, Md., Sophia’s is owned by Anthony and John Kokkinos.
“Sophia is John’s daughter,” explained Anthony, “and in Greek it means ‘wisdom.’ It’s an important word to us, in the Greek culture.”
Awash with natural light, the gem of a shop is tucked away in the Village of Fenwick. It has an array of jewelry, showcasing diamonds, aquamarines, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, tanzanite, and also sells loose diamonds and colored gemstones. In the spring, the store will be offering a variety of sea glass jewelry.
“It’s hard,” said Anthony of choosing which pieces to carry. “You just go by your experience.”
Sophia’s staff welcomes customers regardless of their budget, with pieces starting at $50. Their designer lines include MarahLago, Kabana, Zeghani By Simon G, Allison-Kaufman, Swiss-made Citizen watches and LeStage convertible bracelets.
For those looking for a piece with some history, the store also carries a variety of estate jewelry.
“Some of our stuff is turn-of-the-century Victorian,” Anthony noted.
The store also offers appraisals, certificates of authenticity, repairs, restoration, remounting, sizing, watch batteries and more.
“We can do A to Z. If you come in, we can clean and inspect your jewelry to see if it’s safe, to see if it needs any work,” said Anthony.
Sophia’s can also help customers design and create custom pieces, and will also be selling and buying diamonds, scrap gold and silver.
Anthony, who has 28 years in the jewelry business, started as a clerk at Mark Douglas Jewelers in Ocean City, Md.
“Within a year, I became vice president of the company, and then they made me a partner,” he said. “I grew with that company and was with them for 15 years.”
According to Anthony, during his tenure, the company was one of the top 100 jewelers in the country.
When the owners decided to part ways, Anthony retained a store until 2008, and then went to work for longtime friend John Kokkinos.
“We’re very close,” said Anthony. “We go to the same church. We speak Greek together… We started talking about going into business together after John Hastings decided to retire after 38 years at Krugerrand [Fine Jewelry]… People told us we were crazy. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, you know?”
Anthony, who studied art, has a background in painting and sculpture.
“This just fit right in. I’ve always tinkered with stuff. I’ve always been an artist.”
Anthony designs his own jewelry line, which features castings of old Roman coins and stones of antiquity. He also wants to create snake rings.
“Most people don’t know I do this stuff,” he said of his career as a jeweler.
That’s because most people know him as a guitarist and lead vocalist for the Chest Pains, a New Wave band formed in the early 1980s that has performed in the area for decades. Anthony currently performs with fellow original member Jeff Davis, as well as Chris Button and Joe “Mama” Wirt.
“I was a craps dealer in Atlantic City. One of my friends called me and said, ‘Hey, we’re starting this band — it’s going to be called the Chest Pains.’ I said, ‘That’s it,’ and I quit my job,” he said of returning to Maryland to play in the band.
“We played opening acts,” recalled Anthony of the band’s early years. They opened for The Ramones, Steppenwolf, Love Tractor and other big-name bands, all in Ocean City, Md.
As for the jewelry business, Anthony said it’s similar to music, in that it touches everyone.
“I love the sentiment — how stuff means something, how you get somebody who brings in a ring, ‘This was my great-grandmother’s ring, and we want to spend some money to restore it.’
“Even though maybe it’s not worth it,” he said of the pure monetary value of such a piece, “it means something to somebody. It has that aura. That’s what I like about it… The stuff we sell to people will be around for hundreds of years.”
Sophia’s Fine Jewelry of Fenwick Island is located in the Village of Fenwick at 300 Coastal Highway, #10. For more information, call (302) 539-2242 or visit sophiasfinejewelry.com. The store’s Facebook page can be found by visiting www.facebook.com/sophiasfinejewelry.