Meet the Shopkeeper: Alexandria Rossoff

By Malika Ritchie February 21, 2011

Owner Alexandria Rossoff (center) and two of her favorite gems; shop employees Melanie (left) and Lucia (right).

It seems fitting that it faces the grand entrance to one of Seattle’s most regal and old-world spots. The wedding and engagement rings, world-sourced chandelier earrings, handsome timepieces, and precious-stone brooches at Alexandria Rossoff Jewels and Rare Finds give the splendor and history across the street a run for their money. The gemologist, appraiser, and jeweler and her team buy, consign, valuate, restore, design, and clean fine finds. And yes, they sell them, too.

WWW: What song is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Rossoff: “How Deep is the Ocean?,” the Billie Holiday song done by Etta James.

What was your first job in retail? What did you love or hate about it and how does it compare to what you do now?
My first, second, third, and fourth jobs were all in jewelry. I have worked all the Saturdays of my adult life, and holidays have never felt like they are my holiday, but it comes with the territory! The good news is, I am now beautifully supported by my staff so it is getting easier; my hard work is offset with interesting travel to find more jewelry. What I love most of all is finding the treasure and pairing it with its new owner. And I have a thirst for learning. The history, gemology, design, and restoration aspects of working in jewelry are never-ending so I never stop learning!

What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
I am attracted to beautiful older cut diamonds like our 3.10 carat European cut diamond ring and also billowy gems like moonstone and the Labradorite cabochon ring. I have a bad habit of longing for the piece of jewelry I am showing, having once fallen in love with it, so it is always a game of wanting to hold back the jewelry and also let it go!

Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
I tend to dress in solids, mostly black cashmere, to showcase my jewelry. I like perusing the racks at Ragamoffyn’s and Alexandra’s. I am also almost always wearing one of local scarf designer Janell de Varona’s scarves.

What specific store or type of store do you feel is missing from Seattle’s shopping scene?
I am a big supporter of pre-owned fine things. I collect vintage clothing, fabric, furniture, and cars. I look for environments where every piece is unique, and personally continue to fight the good fight in offering Seattle that special shopping experience. We need the city’s support in keeping independent businesses thriving.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
Famous people run under the radar in Seattle. We’re often surprised by who comes in, and their casual appearances. But what’s more fun to watch is that, on the other side of the counter, people who have never met before often help each other shop — kindred in their appreciation of our jewelry.

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