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Best Jewellery Store 

Fireworks Gallery

With 27 years of experience at Fireworks, manager and buyer Leslie Lawrence knows how the business works. "This year was trickier," she says, referencing the economy, of course. "The one thing with the Maritimes, we're always in a recession," she says, chuckling. "It's what makes us great comedians." Lawrence says she has met and spoken with other jewellers in Montreal, Toronto and New York, and though she's seen some of their business drop up to 40 percent, at Fireworks it's down maybe only a percentage point or two, and that's due to their more cautious purchasing practices. "I had to change my way of buying," she says. Attending conferences showed her how the "fashionista" became the "recessionista" in the past 12 months: the middle-class jewellery buyer who would come in and drop $100 on a pair of earrings is rarely to be seen these days, while the high end still does OK. "We still carry the big, fun, juicy pearls," she says, as Michelle Obama's choices are helping her business in that regard. "But women aren't bragging where they got [their jewels] or how much they paid for it anymore. People are being a little more discrete." Fireworks still stakes its reputation on its knowledgeable and friendly staff, as well as the Canadian and Nova Scotia artisans they use. "Ninety percent of our engagement rings are Canadian diamonds, which we can be proud of," says Lawrence.

Silver: The Vault
Bronze: Trinity Jewellers

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