By ROBIN WOODS
For Montclair Local
If you were born between Feb. 19 and March 20, you are a Pisces, like me. It’s the last astrological sign in the zodiac. My birthday falls on the last day of this sign, seen to be the end of the winter season cycle. I also bring in the first day of spring, as Montclair’s own Robin. Are you in a pickle over purchasing perfect presents for Pisces?
Walking past 24 S. Fullerton Ave., on my way to the library, I noticed mannequins dressed in gorgeous gowns inside a shop called Dody’s Dresses. Never encountering couture in person before, I went into the shop and met the owner, Duha Khaddash. She moved to New Jersey from the Persian Gulf country of Qatar with an eye for fine art and a degree in chemistry. She and her daughters, Dana and Shahed, spent endless hours in Manhattan in search of finely sewn dresses and gowns in expensive fabrics for what was first an international online shop. In January 2018, Duha brought couture gowns and dresses to fashionable Montclair.
Shahed coined the nickname “Dody,” and she decided to use that for her new brick and mortar business. I spent hours exploring the one-of-a-kind designs.
Not sure where I would wear such creations, Duha told me to consider mother of the bride, engagement, wedding, prom and pageant formal occasions. Yes, we’ve seen contestants walking on stage with sequins and beads. Mindful of the dress codes for women in Islamic countries, Duha also has more modest designs in stock that cover the shoulders, chest and arms. You won’t have to raid your 401(k) or clean out your savings account to find ready to wear, prom and evening gowns. If you do want to splurge a little, then take a look-see at exclusive Line 1 and Line 2 couture frocks. Alterations are available, and brides-to-be can make private appointments on Saturdays.
Not a fan of traditional birthday parties? Come celebrate and have a drink or two with me, since Pisces is a water sign, at the 7th annual St. Patrick’s Day Benefit hosted by the Montclair Ambulance Unit on Saturday, March 3, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club, 26 Northview Ave. See and be seen, eat great food from the Cloverleaf Tavern. Imbibe and spend the evening with fabulous people while honoring the Montclair Foundation/Van Vleck House and Gardens. Montclair’s Jazz House Kids and School of Rock students will provide the entertainment. Tickets are available at mvau.org.
Need some lovely jewelry to accessorize your new vintage-inspired beaded gown? You can’t miss Golden Land Jewelers, because the building is bright mint green and yellow at 430 Bloomfield Ave. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but so are platinum, gold and silver. Owner Tony Stibryan moved his business to Montclair from Bloomfield, selling, rings, bracelets, necklaces and watches. With the price of gold hovering around $1,330 an ounce, Tony weighs each item for you before purchase. Earrings are his No. 1 seller, as you don’t need to know the ring or wrist size of the recipient.
Just in case, I wear a 6.5-inch bracelet and size 5 ring.
Colored diamonds are not as popular as they were in the past, but colorless and near colorless are always a good choice. Once you make a purchase, you’ll receive a gemological certification and value for the color, carat, clarity and cut of the piece. Just a hint: Pick out a few items and show them to Tony, who’ll keep them in mind if your BFF, partner or wonderful child comes in to shop for you.
Want to know if jewelry, antiques and family heirlooms are worth big bucks or are just a bust?
Montclair History Center and the Montclair Women’s Club are hosting Hidden Treasures Appraisal Day on Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 82 Union St. Fees are based on the number of objects you want appraised, and will benefit both organizations. You must sign up for this event in advance at montclairhistory.org. Bring the family jewels and Capodimonte lamps along with you.
You just might be able to take that island vacation on a private beach that Pisces crave.
In this column:
• Dody’s Dresses
24 S. Fullerton Ave.
• Montclair Ambulance Unit
• Golden Land Jewelers Inc.
430 Bloomfield Ave.
• Montclair History Center