Jewelry shop adds sparkle to town center

"Not all those who wander are lost," J.R. Tolkien wrote. For Joanne Fusco, wandering turned out to be a way of finding a new career direction, which led to the recent opening of The Little Shop at 94 Old Ridgefield Road. Tucked away next to Scoops, the tiny store sells designer jewelry with semiprecious stones set in 18- and 22-karat gold.

Ms. Fusco, a longtime Wilton resident, also has an apartment on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, where she has always enjoyed taking long walks.

"I would go into jewelry stores and talk to the jewelry designers," said Ms. Fusco, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology who worked part time at the Westport shop of Faye Kim, also a jewelry designer.

While walking in Wilton, Ms. Fusco noticed the shop space available next to Scoops, and "the wheels started turning," she said. '"I began to think about opening my own shop ... Life brings you in different directions."

Fast forward to this summer, and Ms. Fusco's shop opened, decorated with items from her home, including a golf-leaf mirror handcrafted by her grandfather — and filled with designer jewelry set on velvet pillows and in cases.

The jewelry is designed by such notables in the field as "Patty Tobin, Giuseppe D'Arcangelo and Kenneth Jay Lane," said Ms. Fusco. She met the designers while on her strolls in Manhattan.

"There's a nice mix here in my shop," she said.

However, the price points are "reasonable" Ms. Fusco said, with such pieces as 22-karat gold-filled earrings by Giuseppe D'Arcangelo at $175.

"Also, the jewelry is practical and most of it can be worn year-round," said Ms. Fusco, a native of Brooklyn, who moved to Wilton with her husband, Dominick, to raise their two children.

Ms. Fusco said she also hopes the shop, with window boxes filled with flowers, is "welcoming. I want women to come here and feel comfortable, and try on the jewelry three or four times before making a decision about it," she said.

As a six-year breast cancer survivor, Ms. Fusco said she also wants "to put it behind her" and chart a new course. In a way, the shop reflects "my new confidence in my health," she said.

Another inspiration for the shop came from Ms. Fusco's friend, Robin Sherman, former owner of Sea Beans, who told Ms. Fusco about the pleasure she found in owning the store. "It all came together for this shop," Ms. Fusco said.

To mark the grand opening of The Little Shop, Ms. Fusco is offering a drawing to win a designer necklace at the shop on Saturday, Sept. 1.

The Little Shop is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 to 5:30.

Information: 203-529-3666.