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Accents Owner Steven Hanna Reflects on Decades Long Legacy

For 37 years, Accents Jewelry has transcended mere commerce, evolving into a vibrant community, a crucible of creativity, and a sanctuary for cherished moments.

Founder Steven Hanna’s legacy resonates far beyond the store’s physical space, as his commitment to mentoring and nurturing aspiring designers has seeded dreams and shared wisdom spanning decades.

With mixed emotions, the store announced its closure in February. Beloved Accents clientele have until April 30th to acquire exquisite pieces at unbeatable prices as a token of their appreciation.

Hanna was born in a nurturing family surrounded by old country relatives. From the age of 12, surfing encapsulated his childhood and in the 60s, he went to college to major in art, all of which laid the groundwork for idealistic values that stayed true to him throughout his life. With his sculpting background, he acquired an apprenticeship position at Venice Lapidary Guild where he learned how to carve wax that would be cast in silver and gold, and to carve the stones that he would set into jewelry designs.

Hanna started his own business in 1973 by taking in special order rings, doing craft shows, and wholesaling to boutiques and department stores. He found working alongside other creative minds rewarding, so he proceeded to conceptualize an idea for a community-based retail store.

“Not that much different from the family of neighbors and friends that gravitated to my home in the canals where I lived throughout the 70s,” he said. Hanna started taking business courses at UCLA in the 80s while looking for the right location for a unique retail store that catered to his target market.

“It was interesting in being exposed to the basic principles of business, especially how they related to my personal struggles working with larger companies, and how much of it did not relate with my own values. I found my longtime interest in the philosophies and religions from the east and enlightened authors who integrated ancient wisdom with modern living in the west, to be more relevant to my creative business practices,” he said.

In 1987, Hanna opened Accents Jewelry Design on Main Street near the Venice and Santa Monica boundary line where he featured his work alongside other designers, some of which he knew from his early craft fair circuit and trade shows.

“The unique handmade jewelry, personal services offered and affordable prices kept people coming back,” he said. “I was so passionate about bringing together my purpose and everything I had learned toward establishing relationships and taking care of all their jewelry needs … even if it meant going downtown or to my bench workers shop before I opened the store in the morning.”

Three years later, Hanna started a weekly workshop teaching the lost wax jewelry making technique and the workshops have continued to this day. He eventually moved Accents to the corner of Ashland and Main Street in 1993, a location that favored more foot traffic.

“I started recruiting like minded students from my weekly workshop to work as apprentice designers and today my dream has come true as the store supports six of us jewelry designers,” Hanna said.

With training help from Accents Supervising Manager Johanna Torell, Hanna said they instill in each designer the importance of personal service and community by which Accents is known.

“We all honor the creative apprentice designers that came before them, who are now successful designers,” Hanna said. As the store is embarking to close soon, Hanna will deeply miss the sense of community that has surrounded Accents since its inception.

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