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A New Gem in This Jeweler’s Crown

October 8, 2014


Liljenquist1web“I’M THE NEWEST EMPLOYEE and I’ve worked here 11 years.” That was the
T-shirt-clad Matt Sember as he stood behind thousands of dollars’
worth of white and fancy yellow diamonds at the new Liljenquist &
Beckstead store in Fairfax Square, the collection of handsome luxury
stores near Tysons Corner. And it went a long way toward explaining
why a handful of employees had joined four of the company’s partners,
the Liljenquists and the Becksteads, on a glorious Labor Day to ready
the new store for its September opening.

Beyond the impressive glitter of gems and the muted glow of modern
gold, the most noteworthy aspect of the new store is how, well,
impressive yet muted its interior is. That’s no accident: When
planning the new store, which replaces the Tysons Galleria and Fair
Oaks mall stores, the partners reached out to interior designer Barry
Dixon, less known for designing retail stores and more for exquisitely
curated residential interiors in his palette of modern muted neutrals.

The partners’ faith in Dixon has been borne out: A lightly figured
ivory-beige broadloom covers the floors; walnut panels accent sales
areas–diamonds, Bulgari, Marco Bicego, Roberto Coin; parchment-color
faux leather with the texture of ostrich eggs surrounds a
store-within-a-store for Rolex watches, designed by the Rolex
architecture team, headquartered in New York and Switzerland. Says
company president Tom Liljenquist, “We immediately saw the potential
in Fairfax Square: I knew that we could accommodate a sizable Rolex
Corner, and add all of the luxury elements we desired.”Liljenquist3web

As if the space required more luxury, a charming custom-made
chandelier hangs at the entry through a recess in the ceiling. The
orbs of crystal that dangle from their golden stems look like pussy
willow buds.

The interior acts as a lush but quiet jewel box to house all the
glitter. Watching me gaze, dazzled, at all the diamonds, company vice
president Sid Beckstead passes by and says, “People sometimes think we
use trick lighting. But it’s all about the light of day. Take this
[diamond] out into the daylight and it will really glitter.”

Sherrie Beckstead, another partner, is walking around, rummaging among
the little Bufkor padded stands that allow earrings to dangle and
bracelets to nestle. They’ve lost something, but the unpacking
continues, nobody panicking–on God’s green earth everything has to be
somewhere. Little notes on display cases instruct staff on what goes
where; one Post-it note declares: “$75,000 limit per case.” Amen to

Partner Sheila Liljenquist is putting out more treasure while store
senior manager Denise Rasor sorts through even more boxes. Liljenquist
and Sherrie Beckstead agree: “Working on this project and seeing it
come to fruition has been a highlight of 2014.”

Sherrie Beckstead emails me later with more information about the
store. And good news: They found the missing parcel.

–Nancy McKeon

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