Rocks and stones have been Terrie Day's passions since she was a child. For the past 18 years, they also have been her livelihood. As owner of Sabai (3115 Magazine St., 899-9555; 924 Royal St., 525-6211; 711 Jefferson Hwy., Baton Rouge, 225-926-7980; www.sabaijewelry.com), Day transforms nature's roughhewn, organic artistry into fashionable jewelry -- for men and women -- that manages to be both earthy and refined.
"We use a lot of stones from around the world and stones cut by American cutters," says Day, who has stores in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Atlanta. "I'm influenced by how the colors and the textures and the metaphysical properties of the stones work together. It's more about the stones than the silverwork."
Originally, Day started out as a French Market vendor selling jewelry imported from Thailand, then opened the first of her shops 10 years ago. Today, she and her design staff create 40 percent of the stores' jewelry inventory themselves, using a variety of stones from green tourmaline, boulder opal and drusie to amethyst, blue topaz and garnet. They have the designs produced in Day's workshops in Bali and Nepal.
Asian influences are a prominent part of the business -- the name Sabai is a Thai word meaning comfortable, content and happy -- and the shops stock numerous items that incorporate Asian symbols and imagery such as lotus flowers and Buddhist figures.
In addition to its own pieces, Sabai carries jewelry lines by 20 other artists, including Konstantino, Satya (a line of yoga jewelry), Janice Giradi, Mystical Madness and Silver Season by Michael Michou. It also offers a selection of inexpensive gift ideas like crystals, candles, ornamental rocks, amethyst caves, Tibetan singing bowls and Buddhist and Hindu statues.
"We have everything from $30 earrings to designer lines with a gold and silver mix like Konstantino," says Day. "We are our own wholesalers, so our pieces are extremely reasonable. Silver is so much less expensive; you can set big stones and make a big splash without big bucks." For those who prefer gold, Sabai satisfies the yen for yellow metals with vermeil, gold-plated, 18- and 22-karat gold pieces as well. "We love our business," says Day, whose customers include people who've shopped with her for 15 years. "And we have something for everyone."
- Natural rocks and stones become unique pieces of jewelry at Sabai.