When I was in Europe, one of my favorite things to do was to wander from shop to shop in the quaint little towns and meet the shopkeepers, whose families had often been in the same location for generations. They always had fantastic handmade wares from local artisans and it seemed that each object had a story behind it. In this fast paced world, I often long for that more personal experience, and the good news is that there are some amazing local shops that cater to the customer and carry items from all over the world.

While shopping at the Old Bag Factory in Goshen, I came upon a shop called Gamze Neer Exclusive. It is a European style shop selling accent pillows, Turkish kilim, bedcovers, scarves, leather products, handmade throws, antique lamps, art,  and tapestries. Their specialty, however, is unique jewelry including vintage and antique costume and fine jewelry as well as handmade Turkish jewelry. Some of these stunning pieces are one of a kind.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of visiting Gamze Neer Exclusive is Gamze herself, the shop's owner.  Whether looking to add to your own collection or shopping for a gift, Gamze can tell you the story and history behind each piece in her shop. I spent a delightful morning learning about the people who made the jewelry:  What their cultures are like and the traditions behind the materials used. Much of the jewelry dates from the 1920's through the 1960's and is European. Gamze often travels to Europe and scours the cities and countryside to find the perfect pieces to bring back to her shop. "When I buy things, I buy each piece as if I was buying it for myself," she said. Many pieces have been sent to the United States by her 93 year old grandmother, who owned a jewelry boutique in Turkey from 1919 to 1960.

If you are interested in history, this shop is definitely a must see. Gamze helped me choose a beautiful bracelet made by a 96 year old man who lives near the Black Sea. He uses age old techniques and creates every piece of the jewelry himself, including the elastic that he weaves on a small loom! With my purchase, she even included a paper explaining the tradition behind the piece so that when I give this as a gift, the recipient will learn something as well.

Whether you are in the market for a colorful tapestry, a handmade scarf, or a one of a kind antique piece of jewelry, Gamze's shop is sure to please the senses and lift your mood.  The next time you get the urge to go on a European shopping spree, think local and head to the Old Bag Factory!

Gamze Neer Exclusive The Old Bag Factory #9 1100 Chicago Avenue, Goshen IN, 46528 M-T-W-F-Sa  10-5 Th 10-7 Sun closed 574.533.3342 gamzeneer.com