Marilyn Janns has yet to find the tears. She has been feeling a wave of nostalgia as she prepares to close and then later relocate Cleopatra’s Barge Fine Jewelry after a 56-year run in the same Naples store.
Janns, 77, opened the shop in 1966 at 1197 Third St. S. after moving to Naples from New York City, making it one of the longest-running businesses in Southwest Florida. In 1992, she designed and copyrighted the Naples medallion, which became her store’s iconic piece. It’s an etched drawing of the Naples pier with a palm tree and can be ordered in four sizes in either gold or silver, with prices starting at $210 or $150 and up to $2,000.
“I just had this idea to commemorate the love of Naples,” Janns said. “With the most outstanding part of Naples, which is the pier, where everyone goes out to watch the dolphins, fish and have a wonderful time.”
Most of the items in her store are on sale through the end of July, her last day there. She is even selling some of the gems that, for a long time, never were for sale. A clothing store will be moving into the space later this year.
“I have very mixed emotions,” Janns said of moving. “A lot of my customers are upset. I get upset then. But it’s going to be better for me.”
Emerald, sapphire, ruby, tanzanite and diamonds are on display in the store. She also has a collection of rare Brazilian Paraiba tourmalines, one of which is valued at $150,000.
On Oct. 1, Janns will reopen above Bice’s Ristorante at the corner of Third Street and Fifth Avenue South, where she will keep the same phone number and take customers by appointments. She will continue her passion of creating and recreating jewelry pieces for what has been a steady stream—three generations worth of customers.
“Jewelry remains her passion,” said Nicole Jones, Janss’ daughter. “After 56 years, she’s not willing to say goodbye. Jewelry design will be something she will continue to offer. To help people design and redesign pieces to make them spectacular, something that they will enjoy and love to wear.”
Janns has seen a lot of changes to Naples since her arrival.
“When I got here that first year, there were only 7,000 people,” said Janns of a city that currently has more than 19,000 residents. “I used to lock the store up and go fishing. Then we started to get busier. I’d just go stand on the beach and fish. I’d catch all kinds of fish. We’d have that for dinner. That was a lot of fun.”
Jones said her mom still uses a lot of sayings with customers like, “Don’t worry, the impossible just takes a little longer,” and “Don’t worry, you’ll have it exactly your way.” And customers will keep hearing them as she continues her craft.