Bidding farewell to an artisan: Winslow jewelry store to close

Bidding farewell to an artisan: Winslow jewelry store to close

With the passing of her husband, Alice Gilbert Thomes has decided that the time has come for Gilbert Thomes Jewelry to close its doors.

Bainbridge Island will sparkle a little less bright come the end of April, as the island’s beloved jewelry store turns out the lights for good. Gilbert Thomes said the closure will come on the anniversary of the store’s opening in 2004.

Gilbert Thomes and her husband worked together to run the store her husband had always dreamed of.

“Having his own shop was what Drew had always wanted to do; it was just his life’s dream,” she said.

For 13 years the shop ran what Drew Gilbert Thomes referred to as the “Alice and Drew Show.”

“Drew and I were such a complete team, we did everything together throughout our entire marriage,” Gilbert Thomes said.

“I picked the stones and he did the mountings,” she added.

While Alice worked in the front, Drew would work diligently in the back, crafting intricately detailed rings, pendants and necklaces by cutting the molds from wax blocks, bit by bit, until the final form of the ring revealed itself.

“I never really appreciated how amazing an artist he was until he was gone,” she said.

Befitting the nature of his work, Gilbert Thomes was also a hopeless romantic.

“He was such a romantic and he loved my family, so he just wanted to add Gilbert to his name,” Gilbert Thomes said.

“When I married Drew he took my name, which was Gilbert, and I took his name, which was Thomes, hence Gilbert Thomes Jewelry. So whenever anybody calls up and asks for Gil, we know they don’t know us,” she laughed.

For Alice, it was Drew’s love for creating beauty that set his work apart from other jewelry designers.

“He just enjoyed creating beautiful things and making beautiful things. That’s why he enjoyed making wedding rings most of all — because he knew that people would love them and cherish them and maybe they’d last forever, getting passed down for generations,”

Gilbert Thomes’ standards for quality were set so high by her husband’s work that she feels she cannot continue to run the store without his artisanship.

“I can’t continue without Drew,” she said.

“He was a very inspired designer. I have found since he’s been gone that there is no way to replace that.”

When asked what she will do after the store is closed, Gilbert Thomes shook her head.

“I have no idea.”

“It’s time for me to start a new chapter,” she said.

In addition to the time spent at their shop, Gilbert Thomes is also grateful for the people of Bainbridge who visited their downtown Winslow business.

“Thanks for all the happy years of making beautiful things and helping Bainbridge sparkle. We have thoroughly enjoyed being here,” Gilbert Thomes said.

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