Pearls, all grades and shades, from the seven seas and freshwater streams, are the heart and soul of the Bijoux De Mer Fine Jewelry collection. Precious and semi-precious gemstones, set in handcrafted gold and blackened silver, work with the pearls to set their pieces apart. The jewelry is fine but fashionable, elegant but with a forward edge. “I’ve always loved pearls – Tahitian pearls, South Sea pearls, all colors and sizes. I like to combine them with precious or semi-precious gems and set them in 18 karat gold or blackened silver,” says Renee Launiere, owner and artisan. “The name I chose, Bijoux De Mer, means ‘jewels of the sea.’ The ocean is, and always has been, my inspiration. The colors, the warmth of the sun, the wonderful feeling of a day at the beach, all feed into my inspiration for my designs.”

Launiere was in the high-powered world of pharmaceutical sales for fifteen years, but toward the end, her heart simply wasn’t in it. “In high school, I was faced with a classic dilemma. I dreamt of going to college to major in art, but my practical mother steered me towards a business degree, hoping I wouldn’t end up a ‘starving artist,’” says Launiere. “In the end, it was the business degree that led to the high-powered, well-paid job in the pharmaceutical industry that provided me with the means to quit my job and pursue my dream.”

When Launiere left her sales and marketing position, she was determined to forge a new career, this time doing something she loved. She studied jewelry design and metalsmithing, and received certification in pearl grading from the Gemological Institute of America. “I had prepared for this for years, sometimes not even realizing what I was doing.” Burnt out from 70-80 hour work weeks and constant travel, an emerging entrepreneurial spirit gave Launiere the impetus she needed. So she quit the corporate world to open her own business in the artistic field outside the office cubicle. “I took classes at night; I worked on my own designs on weekends. I would sell a piece from around my neck if someone admired it,” she says.

Quickly, Launiere’s business was up and running. “I took my life’s savings, my 401(k) plus some, and invested in gemstones, gold and pearls. Right off the bat, I entered juried shows and was accepted into the biggest shows in the business – New York and Las Vegas – where I was a tiny fish in a very big sea. I sold my pieces to other fine jewelry stores for eight years, gaining national and international acclaim, until I moved from Atlanta to Destin a couple of years ago,” she says. “Since then I have focused on opening my flagship store here. We opened in December 2016 – truly a dream come true! My fiancé Vladimir and my Shih Tzu Gus are an integral part of the business and my life here in Destin. ”

With the store open and thriving, Launiere is concentrating on the retail side of the business. The Bijoux De Mer line will continue offering two collections a year through select high-end jewelry stores around the country. She’s even placed her line overseas and on some luxury cruise lines. Launiere’s focus, however, remains on the Destin store. Her favorite part of the business is interacting with customers, working with them to find the perfect piece and creating custom designs. “I love being able to help a client find a special piece that speaks to them. Seeing their excitement for my jewelry is always an indescribable high. I am humbled by it, really.”

BIJOUX DE MER
Renee Launiere, Owner/Designer
4495 Furling Lane, Suite 170
Destin FL 32541
850-830-5465
www.bijouxdemer.com

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