Lane Mitchell Jewelry shop abounds in history and great ring deals

IMG_0339-Edit
Rick Langenberg

For many local residents, the search for an ideal wedding ring, silver or
gold earring, specialty watch or historic gem ends in downtown Manitou
Springs at the Lane Mitchell Jewelers store.

Following a major renovation of a turn-of-the-century building, coupled with
some of the most experienced jewelers in the region and extremely personal
service, not to mention the extra benefits of having an actual “man’s chair” for
non-jewelry folks and several canine mascots on hand, the popular shop is
bustling these days with local and out-of-town customers. The Lane Mitchell
location in Manitou, at 737 Manitou Avenue, has become a welcoming spot for
jewelry and history buffs, or those needing repairs, or just tourist
browsers interested in good conversation, or learning about the latest
artistic secrets in Manitou Springs.

Moreover, Lane Mitchell, with its qualified staff that boasts of close to
100 years in the business collectively, ranks as the closest and most
convenient stop for Teller and Ute Pass residents seeking the benefits of a
full-service jewelry shop. The store features custom jewelry, vintage and
modern displays, engagement rings and Native American Indian masterpieces,
including “Old Pawn” jewelry. Lane Mitchell also prides itself in combining
old-school personal service with new technologies for repairs and various
nuances associated with state-of-the-art jewelry-making. The Manitou shop
also features a master jeweler and watch-maker.

“We view jewelry as art, said L’Aura Montgomery Williams, the manager and co-owner of the
Manitou store and the wife of Lane Mitchell Williams, the founder of the
business. Lane Mitchell Williams, who first got interested in jewelry-making
from taking a junior high school art class, has gained a reputation as one
of the top jewelers in the business and sports more than 40 years of
experience. “Lane can make a jewelry piece from just about any image. He is
absolutely amazing. He has such a passion for jewelry-making,” said L’Aura.
“It is his art.”

The couple has a major store in Colorado Springs and has greatly expanded
their jewelry enterprise with the current location in Manitou. Their store
in Manitou features an impressive renovation of an early 1900s building,
which has been preserved to its original grandeur.

The shop in Manitou has gained quite a reputation for its supply of vintage
jewelry, with watches, rings and estate pieces that often date back to the
Civil War. “All of these pieces have great stories to tell. They have
survived the depression and world wars. They have seen so much. They are
pieces of history,” said L’Aura Montgomery Williams.

The store also features rare Native American Indian jewelry, and specializes
in “Old Pawn Jewelry,” a genre that blossomed in the 1950s and 1960s. This
occurred during an unfortunate period in history during which many Native
American Indians got booted off their land and were forced to pawn unique
jewelry items in order to survive. But this left the jewelry world with
some incredible master pieces. Lane Mitchell Jewelers abounds with many
Navaho and Hopi Indian gems. “We have a great supply of Native American
jewelry,” said Williams.

More importantly, the store caters to the diverse needs of all customers,
from those searching for a rare wedding ring, or those who just want to get
a watch repaired, or have a ring sized. “We have a very welcoming
environment,” said Williams, who cites their personal service as a quality
that makes their business stand out from shopping malls or larger
stores. “We can really make engagement rings extremely affordable,” she
added.

Their services are also complimented by the parent store in Colorado
Springs at 102 E. Pikes Peak Avenue.

And for male shoppers who aren’t too crazy about the jewelry-shopping
experience, the store has the infamous “male chair” and bustles with several
canine mascots to create a friendly atmosphere. “We are not stiff here,”
admitted L’Aura. “This is a dog-friendly establishment.”

In fact, the shop blends well with the burgeoning Manitou Springs art
community that now bustles with 20-plus galleries and features unusual
events that have commanded national attention. Williams is strongly involved
with Manitou Springs and the town’s various cultural and economic pursuits.
She is a leading member of the Manitou Environmental Citizens Action group,
which has played a big role in saving and preserving Rainbow Falls Park.
Their group has worked closely with the El Paso County government and the
Colorado Department of Transportation in resurrecting this scenic area with
a $5 million project.

“We are very excited about Manitou Springs,” said Williams, a long-time resident of the area.

Like many business operators, the Lane Mitchell co-owner supports the current
direction of the community, including its support of a few recreational
marijuana outlets. “One of our best days we had was when Maggie’s Farm (the
first recreational marijuana outlet in Manitou Springs) opened,” said
Williams. She still has some concerns about the often controversial parking
situation in Manitou, but sees this problem getting better through
more public awareness.

Luckily for the Lane Mitchell Jewelers, the store is located in a convenient
area downtown, across the street from a prime downtown parking lot next to
the Stagecoach Inn restaurant.

As for future improvements, the store manager and co-owner sees a bigger and better
business, with possibly a new studio for repairs. The Manitou store is currently doing a
number of specials, such as a “buy one, get one watch battery” deal and 20
percent off on ring sizing. For more information about Lane Mitchell
Jewelers in Manitou Springs, call 719-685-2441 or visit them at
LaneMitchellJewelers.com.