That’s it: I’m starting a list of the most beautiful shops in town. If I had started it last week, there would’ve been three for-sures, but since I started it today, after visiting the just-opened jewelry shop River Song in Madison Valley, there are four.

River Song is the enterprise of River Burke, a jeweler and world traveler whose pieces have been for sale at places like Watson Kennedy, Liberty 123, and Stuhlberg’s for years.

Remember when there were two Veritables on one block of Madison? Burker’s brand new shop sits inside the vacated one. The space next door is being rebuilt for a dress making concern called Vian Hunter. Recession? What recession? With shops like Red Ticking, Istina, Rue de Lyon, and Apogee, life feels pretty beautiful and wide open on this little stretch.

Again, a lot of that feeling is due to the new neighbor. Burker’s work is delicate but imbued with a lot of meaning, and the shop has a quiet sense of treasure and handcrafted history. It comes from pieces she’s brought in - hers and the work of friends and those she’s met on her travels - but it’s also in the way she subtly merchandises and displays the necklaces, earrings, bracelets, porcelain, ceramics, paintings, and other art.

Part scientific study, part farmstead family room, part watercolored children’s book. From fire opals to ikat pillows to locally pressed apple cider to gorgeously meticulous zoological renderings of butterflies, there’s a lot to discover there, and it’s not just the gems that are precious.

I left with a tiny 24k gold vermeil protection talisman on a whisper thin linen cord and a couple dozen images in my camera. I couldn’t pass either up. If we meet on the street you’ll probably notice the necklace and that alone will send you straight to the shop. Until then, enjoy the slideshow here, and see if you don’t wander there on your own.

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