If your grandmas were like mine, they had jewelry boxes that looked like treasure chests with multiple drawers stuffed with costume jewels and a few real ones. If you were like me as a kid, whenever you got the chance, you dug into these drawers, festooning yourself with as many beads, pins, rings, bangles, and earrings as your body could support. (Or, until you got yelled at for playing with the good jewels.)
Flash forward to your adulthood. You can now purchase things you admire, but shopping isn’t half as fun as when you pilfered your grandma’s jewel boxes. You go to a place that’s white or beige. Select from some over-hyped, carefully packaged items. Stand in line, as everyone’s items are duly scanned by a computer. Exit through a white or beige doorway.
If that kind of shopping experience annoys you, visit The Last Straw, in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset. Tucked inside a cozy, adorable cottage is a great shop full of interesting, beautiful jewelry and one-of-a-kind gifts. You get to search through well-organized jewelry boxes and drawers to peruse the well-edited collection of necklaces, earrings, and bangles. Just like my grandmas’ jewel boxes, but with much funkier, contemporary jewelry.
Gift selections are beautifully displayed throughout the store, making you feel like you’re actually in the home of a great collector. (In a way, you are, as there seems to be a residence behind the cute cottage.) The glass and pottery, in particular, is always beautiful and interesting to look at.
You can get a necklace at a chain store. You can buy a gift for your friend from another chain store. Or, you can visit a one-of-a-kind shop and select something lovely that has a story behind it, at a place that makes the experience of the search fun again.
Check out The Last Straw at 4540 Irving Street, past 46th Avenue. Open Tuesday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.