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Fashion Forward Eye Candy (Jewelry, that is)

Posted By Karen Young On May 26, 2010 @ 12:05 am In Fashion,Fashion & Beauty,Featured,Jewelry & Gifts,Lifestyle,My Daily Find,spotlight,Women | 1 Comment

BY  RACHEL SULPRIZIO

A blurry price tag and Oprah, an odd combination, but for Studio City’s Tari Saltman, it was a source of inspiration.

“On New Year’s Eve (2008), I started thinking about what I wanted to do next,” Saltman says. “My kids were growing up and I thought ‘what is something that I don’t have, that I want and need?’”

A necklace with an optical lens for magnifying named Videre (vi dēre) — from the Latin word 'visio' meaning “to see.” Photos: Videre

This brought to mind a visually-challenged shopping trip from a few days earlier. “I couldn’t see the size or price,” she says. “I had bags in my hands, my purse, and I had to put everything down and look for my glasses.” She then remembered words of wisdom from an Oprah show, “Find a need and fill it.”

All of this reflection gave Saltman an idea. The result is an upscale necklace with an optical lens for magnifying which she named Videre (vi dēre) from the Latin word visio meaning “to see.”

In order to get Videre off the ground, Saltman consulted her long-time friend, Melissa McDowell over lunch. “When she told me about it,” McDowell says, “Something in me just resonated, and I said, ‘That’s a fabulous idea. Let’s go.’”

Website customers customers receive a 20 percent discount until the end of June. The code for the discount at their website www.viderejewelry.com is “Friends & Family.”

Ever since that moment, the duo has been working hard to bring the idea to light. “Every day we have done something on it,” McDowell says. “We spent the first five or six months doing prototypes. We really did a lot of research to make sure we would go out with the best product we could.”

Their biggest clients so far have been friends and family, but with their recently launched website, they are hoping to attract the attention of woman who want both clarity and class.

“We really wanted to create something that was aesthetically beautiful,” McDowell says. “That’s why we chose sterling silver.” The optical necklaces are also available in gold vermeil, 14k gold and white gold with chain lengths of either 32 inches or 36 inches. Different lens sizes can also be requested.

Chains come in different lengths (model seen here).

Each order is custom-made locally and may take up to two weeks to create. “We found a jeweler that is this awesome, old-time, handcrafted jeweler,” McDowell says. “His family has been in business for over 60 years in Beverly Hills.”

Besides using high quality metals, the partners also tried to create something that was long-wearing and practical. “A long time ago, women would carry a magnifying glass with a handle on a chain,” says Saltman, “But that didn’t make sense because glass is very thick and heavy. We decided to go with an acrylic lens.”

Saltman says each lens has a 5x magnification and is easily adaptable for all reading glass users. “You don’t need to hold the lens up to your eye,” Saltman says. “You just place it near what needs magnification and then start pulling away until it becomes clear.”

The prices for the necklaces vary depending on the options chosen.

Adding charms while making sure the lens stayed scratch-free was another concern. “We had a few mishaps in the beginning,” says McDowell. “We tried adding crystals and semi-precious stones to the chains, but they weren’t working.” Instead, McDowell says, they chose to offer “smoother options” like personalized I.D. tags and discs.

The prices for the necklaces vary depending on the options chosen. A plain sterling silver necklace starts at $153, and a top of the line choice like 14k gold with a ten-point diamond in the teardrop will cost about $3,300.

Each lens has a 5x magnification and is easily adaptable for all reading glass users.

McDowell says to celebrate their recent “soft-launch,” they are offering their website customers a 20 percent discount until the end of June. The code for the discount at their website www.viderejewelry.com is “Friends & Family.”

Next on their list is to create a men’s line, Saltman says. “We want to do something that is covered…that they can put in their pocket. But it has to be made out of something manly like stainless steel.”

While their business venture grows, Saltman and McDowell say their personal lives are evolving as well. “It’s given me a ton more confidence, “says Saltman, “And made me really proud.” McDowell agrees and adds, “I’ve always wanted to do something entrepreneurial, and it doesn’t get much more entrepreneurial than this.”

Rachel Sulprizio is a Studio City resident and is currently in the journalism extension program at UCLA. She previously worked at KFMB Radio in San Diego. She wrote a screenplay called “Pandora’s Gift” and co-wrote, produced and starred in a short film called “Small Little Thing.”

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