CROWN POINT | D2E Gallery & Gifts features jewelry, art and hand-crafted gifts designed and made by local, national and international artisans.
"I had a very artistic and musically–inclined background ever since I was a child," owner Michell Mathis said. "With the jewelry designing, I just started three years ago. I am self–taught. I studied through literature and the Internet and am always continuing to study, always learning new jewelry techniques and designs."
The shop's mainstay and best seller is hammered hand stamped personalized pennies, Mathis said. These are made into pet tags, key chains, jewelry and wine glass charms.
"That idea was inspired by a customer of mine who lives in Lowell," Mathis said. "Her husband is an engineer on a locomotive. He smashed pennies on the railway for each of his children and his wife to keep in their pocket so they would be reminded of him while he is away at work."
The wife asked Mathis if she could personalize the pennies with their names, making them into necklaces for the girls and key chains for the boys.
"That was the birth of the hand stamped penny for D2E," Mathis said. "We took that idea and rolled with it. It plays into the idea of always having a lucky penny on you."
D2E also specializes in mixed metal sterling and copper jewelry and fine silver jewelry. The company name was chosen, Mathis said, after a customer described her designs as "'down to earth,' and that just stuck."
"I went with Down to Earth Jewelry," Mathis said. "When I realized the name is quite long to put a web link or shop name, I abbreviated it to D2E, which turned out pretty well and is kind of catchy."
The couple used their savings to start the business and, after looking at several locations from Lowell to Merrillville, chose their current Crown Point location.
Co–Owner Chris Mathis said "Michell has incredible vision so when she walked in she could already see everything in place."
Starting with the works of nine artists, D2E Gallery now features more than artists. The company has an online shop and participates as vendors in Valparaiso's Popcorn Festival and Crown Point's Arts and Crafts Festival.