You may have noticed a subtle change at one of Westboro’s favourite jewellery stores. Zahara, opened by Ania Geerts five years ago, is now called Heist, in honour of the collaborative jewellery collections she is creating with Alex Jay. Like Ania’s gorgeous Zahara-branded creations, Alex’s eponymous line has made her well known to lovers of unique, handcrafted pieces.
While each talented artisan continues with her original line, the duo is collaborating on the new Heist pieces that focus on alternative bridal jewellery, explains Ania. “We emphasize ‘fair-mined’ metals and ethically sourced gemstones as well as recycled gold and stones, which makes the pieces we create both very meaningful and socially conscious, not to mention a little more economical as well.”
“We are eager to share our love for – and knowledge of – jewellery. It is a physical link from the past to the present to the future,” adds Alex.
What makes Heist unique is that the storefront represents only its own retail ‘in house’ designer jewellery collections in a range of styles and prices, as well as offering the service of customized and bespoke pieces of jewellery, all created in house from start to finish. Both Alex and Ania also really enjoy creating custom pieces, particularly for couples.
“It’s a love story told with jewellery and it’s an honour to be a part of this very special process,” says Ania. “We talk about likes and lifestyle; needs and wants, then after the initial design comes a computer rendering and a wax model before we make the pieces.”
Ania notes collaborating with Alex is a natural extension of their love for creating timeless jewellery. As she explains, people are looking for something different and now, with several in-house lines, Heist is able to offer a breadth of choices. Heist is also Ottawa’s original home of the wedding band workshop where couples can make their own bands in silver or gold.
“It’s a hands-on encounter with traditional metalsmithing, guided by one of our passionate instructors,” explains Alex. “You start with a blank rod of metal and walk out with a finished ring and memories to treasure for a lifetime.”