When the owner of an East Texas jewelry store and a certified gemologist decided to team up together in Tyler, blue became their color.

The pair recently closed their shops in Palestine and headed north with their diamonds, gemstones, gold, silver and platinum to the Sonoma Village shopping center on Old Jacksonville Highway.

Tina Yancey and Steve Neel decided to combine their efforts earlier this year.

Ms. Yancey, owner and operator of Blue. The House of Jewelry, has always loved the color blue. She said she always asks if what she is buying comes in blue.

When she didn’t know what to name her new store, her daughter and son-in-law were on hand to help her out.

“Blue is my favorite color and kindness is my favorite word,” Ms. Yancey said. “My daughter said it should be Blue. We added The House of Jewelry to it because blue.com was already taken and I wanted people to know what was in my store.”

A cozy nook with fresh coffee greets customers as they walk in the door. Cases of gold, silver and platinum shine through the windows of the jewelry cases and diamonds and gemstones sparkle and catch your eye as you make your way into the shop. Letters of the word “blue,” designed in an old newspaper style font, neatly hang above a blue wall behind the register.

“We really have something for everyone here,” Ms. Yancey said. “There are charm bracelets for $25 and four-carat diamond rings valued at $16,000.”

The jewelry cases hold LaFonn simulated diamond and gemstone jewelry, Valina diamond engagement and bridal sets, and an artful assortment of Eden Presley jewelry.

“We carry traditional diamonds, pink diamonds and yellow diamonds,” Ms. Yancey said. “The simulated diamonds are great for people who want the look of diamonds. The LaFonn collection allows that flexibility with our customers and they still get a beautiful piece of jewelry.”

The latest trends in jewelry are the mixing of medals, gold with silver, white gold or platinum in a single piece. Another trend is placing rubies and sapphires with diamonds in a single piece of jewelry.

The store also features Officina Bernardi Italian Sterling Silver jewelry, Angelica adjustable charm bracelets and Visible Faith Jewelry.

“The Visible Faith collection is made in Llano,” Ms. Yancy said. “I learned that it was featured in a national finals rodeo and connected with the designer and started selling it.”

So far, the Bernardi Italian Sterling Silver jewelry has been the top seller in the store.

Ms. Yancy didn’t leave her staff behind in Palestine. Lacee Fetterman, office manager, and Laura Ann Herrington, certified wedding planner and bridal consultant, round out the team.

Neel, a certified gemologist and appraiser, apprenticed in his dad’s watch and jewelry shop in Santa Monica, California, over 40 years ago.

“I always liked working with my hands,” Neel said. “I was a natural craftsman and it was a perfect match for me.”

Neel prides himself in being able to make custom designs from family heirlooms for people who want a custom piece but want to hold onto the family jewels. It’s not uncommon for people to bring in a grandmother’s ring and request it be made into something more modern.

“Jewelry is very personal,” Neel said. “If they have a dream, I can make it come to fruition. We can take their ideas, even if they’re drawn on a napkin, and make them come to life.”

Neel is available for jewelry appraisals and has even testified in legal proceedings about the value of jewelry.

“The main thing is honesty,” Neel said. “It’s really important to have transparency with our customers. We’re very protective of our customer’s jewelry and their family heirlooms. Jewelry is personal for people. It has a very personal value.”

Blue. The House of Jewelry is located at 7428 Old Jacksonville Highway. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

TWITTER: @LouAnnCampbell

Multimedia Journalist

I am a retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant. After a 21-year military career, in Security Forces, the military police of the Air Force, I went back to college for a journalism degree. I started working at the Tyler Morning Telegraph in June 2016.

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