Travel along Bellevue Avenue, turn onto William Street, and come upon #86, a building that exudes Newport charm with a jewel-toned twist. The large Colonial style house is elegantly embellished with a purple front door and scalloped awning, striped cornices at each window, and gold lettering on picture windows. In its former life as Rib & Rhein, the property earned a spot on Architectural Digest’s list of Most Beautiful Independent Stores. Today it’s the HQ of Loren Hope, a luxury costume jewelry business founded by Loren Barham with pieces available locally and nationally at retailers like Nordstrom and BHLDN.
Since childhood, Loren has been artistic, and various fine arts pursuits and education led her to jewelry making. When searches for supplies and craftspeople consistently pointed to Rhode Island, she and husband Aaron visited the former Jewelry Capital of the World, and in 2013 decided to move to Pawtucket. As the business grew, Loren desired a property that could accommodate both a shop and workspace. “We spent six months looking for the perfect set-up,” says Loren of the Newport space, which houses her flagship store and studio. “I love that it’s in an old 1800s house. It has tons of character. Old wooden floors, fireplaces, and lots of little hidden rooms.”
White-washed bamboo floors and white walls set a calming vibe inside the studio, which is outfitted with an eclectic mix of things like slipper chairs, each covered in a different fabric. Sentimental items like an old perfume bottle and vintage jewelry from Loren’s grandmother serve as accents; on walls, gilded frames display words like “Dope” and tear sheets from national magazine features. Windows kept undressed and tall mirrors keep rooms bright by design. “I need as much natural light as possible – with all white around me. Our work includes lots of fine details so it’s important our eyes don’t get strained during the design process.”
And of course, there are the supplies: a dazzling array of rhinestones, glass stones, metal findings, and tools. “We keep all of our components organized into tackle supply bins so we can easily move them around and see what we have. We have a giant mood board above the design table to keep us inspired,” says Loren, adding, “I think it’s important as a creative to have a clean space where you can think and process your ideas, but it also has to be inspiring. I’ve always wanted to have a space where I could welcome the public into my little world.”