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Robin Hancock Talks Austin, Texas and Unique, Fine Jewelry

It’s no doubt that Austin, Texas is full of incredible small business, boutiques, and design studios. When it’s time to freshen our style, or our outlook, we turn to local Austin friends and collaborators for their expert perspective. In this blog series, along with our own inspiration for refreshed jewels, we highlight two longtime friends and Austin-based business-owners: Elizabeth Cates, of Sparrow Interiors and Gifts, and Kristen Ernst, of Grove Hill ATX Boutique. In this feature, Robin shares her jewelry insight that draws from her expertise as a 20+ year Austinite and fine jeweler.

What are your accreditations, certifications, and the background experience that feeds into your expertise?

ROBIN: I kicked off my lifelong educational journey with an undergrad from The University of Texas at Austin with a double major in business and sociology. People’s behavior and their relationships within the societies they occupy has always fascinated me. My jewelry-related certifications include an in-residence certification from Gemological Institute of America (GIA), including continued education with GIA and Van Cleef and Arpels — I sought the best of the best for my jewelry education, as I do now with my jewelry. Additionally, I’m certified with the International Society of Appraisers and have a certificate from Sotheby’s for The History of Jewelry.

What’s the history of why and how you got started in Austin?

ROBIN: It’s a love story, really. When I first started my business in 1999 as RSK Appraisers, I set up shop in Houston and, by design, ended up doing business all over the state — and beyond. I married my husband Trey in 2002, moved to Austin with him, and brought the business to Austin.

Where did your journey with jewelry begin?

ROBIN: I’ve always been fascinated with the reasons people collect things — since the beginning of time, people have been adorning themselves with precious materials. Historically, jewelry has been used as an emblem of social status, or a representation of who they are socially and culturally. My History of Jewelry certification with Sotheby's reinforced my desire to learn more about why people want to collect jewelry and pass it down. As far as the boutique goes, the collections grew organically out of my desire to fill the breadth of my clients’ needs.

What types of clients do you typically aim to serve?

ROBIN: Ultimately, my clients want a personal experience and a unique selection. I want them to learn a little fact about their jewelry, one they wouldn’t have known otherwise — or, a way to wear their jewelry in a new and unique way. When clients, old and new, come into my store, they usually end up with something completely different than what they had expected. Shopping here is very rarely a premeditated experience. You interact with the jewelry and more often than not, it chooses you, not the other way around.

How does Robin Hancock Fine Jewelry uniquely serve Austinites? Or, in other words, what can they find at your shop and with your service that they can’t find elsewhere in Austin?

ROBIN: The experience you have in this store is unlike any other in that it is personal, unique, and elegant, but not stuffy or so wild in design that it’s unwearable. The selection is unrivaled: we carry true-to-period pieces in perfect condition, as well as modern jewelers who represent current trends — but whose designs withstand time and generations. You can’t find these pieces anywhere else — not in town, and in many cases, not in the rest of the country. For example, a piece that delights me at this moment is this early-victorian lemon-colored chrysoprase. It's soft but meaningful, and the craftsmanship is exquisite, it’s very true to period and I’ve never seen one like it.

We’d like to learn your perspective on what makes Austin unique in terms of fashion and style:

How would you de