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Hot Shopping: Shop Talk: A True Gem

During a formative trip to Bangkok after university, Bruce Wachal (pictured), president/CEO of award-winning Winnipeg jeweller Epsilon Creations, was inspired to become a gemologist. Interested in bringing quality gems to the local market, Wachal opened Epsilon as a wholesaler of precious stones, discovering a passion for jewellery design in the process. After 17 years crafting wearable works of art at Epsilon’s cozy Corydon Avenue studio, Wachal and his dedicated team of eight gemologists, designers and goldsmiths moved to a larger location on Stafford Street in 2012 to better serve a growing list of clients coveting contemporary yet personal pieces — such as the striking modern birthstone pendant Wachal was working on during WHERE’s visit.  “What we do is very satisfying,” he says. “We turn ideas and inspiration into reality.”  50 Stafford St, 204-453-6849.

Hot Shopping: Gorgeous Gems at Diamond Gallery

Inside Diamond Gallery, owner Allan Malbranck greets many clients by name. Customer service is just the first step at this Corydon Avenue jewellery boutique. Knowledge, training, education and experience set apart the family-owned business, which opened in 1992. Allan has been in the business for 41 years, starting at age 15 behind the counter at Al’s Jewellers, his family’s business. Today, with their daughter Lisa, a designer and gemologist herself, they design, custom-make and restore jewellery, from engagement to anniversary rings to pearls, pendants, bracelets and cuff links. “There’s no limitation,” Allan says. They’re also the largest dealer in platinum rings between Calgary and Toronto. “We’re really well-trained in platinum,” he says. Given the high price of gold these days, platinum is a great deal for people looking for a lot of bling for their buck. 1-1735 Corydon, 488-9813.