It’s no secret that Beauty & Essex is its own kind of hidden gem, so it’s only fitting that the mastermind behind the carefully curated showcases at the restaurant’s infamous pawn shop has more tricks (or shall we say, jewels) up her sleeve. With the recent opening of Beauty & Essex Las Vegas at The Cosmopolitan, third generation pawn broker Lauren Kaminsky has created a Vegas-worthy shop. “Shinier” and “bigger” are two words Kaminsky used to describe the latest installment of TAO Group’s successful Beauty & Essex brand, but the same eclectic feel remains. Items can range from a $600 watch to a $20,000 watch, both formidable pieces to the eye of a timepiece connoisseur. The same can be said about the diverse collection of guitars and other Kaminsky finds. Though, in the end, gold remains her focus. As her father taught her years ago, gold always withstands the test of time.
Where do you tend to look for new pieces?
It changes. A lot of the inventory actually comes from EZ Pawn Corp. because we have to keep it authentic and that is the pawnshop; it reminds people that it’s a treasure hunt. I try to relay that thrill of finding things—I like to put a Cartier ring next to a costume ring because of that.
What’s the difference between a Beauty & Essex pawn shop and a more traditional shop?
Other than the beautiful décor and large presence of jewelry, the Beauty & Essex pawnshop has my seal of approval for the items that go out for sale. Putting my “bygoldgirl” seal of approval on things really makes the difference.
With a speakeasy so close to the inventory, you must get a few buzzed-shoppers…
We definitely get interesting shoppers, but what I love most are the customers who are looking to top-off their night. So if you’re going to Beauty & Essex to take in the amazing food, the scenery, the vibe, the atmosphere and then to top off a great night, for example, you buy your wife the beautiful ring she spotted on the way in. The icing on the cake of your night is making that purchase for her, and she always remembers the experience there. I love stories like that because where else can you do that? We’re open the same hours as the restaurant. We’ve had stories where guests will have pieces presented at tables for special occasions—we’ve had proposals.
What was your approach to curating the selection for the Vegas location?
With New York I came in after they had already opened, but with Vegas I feel much more connected. Rich Wolf and I picked out every single fixture, from the lights on the walls to the showcases. Everything has a Vegas twist; we have a lot of good luck charms, lot’s of “blingy” pieces for the winners at the casino, and then the usual eclectic mix of pieces that people love. We kept it true to form, there’s always something for everyone, but there is definitely a little more sparkle for Vegas.
Any exciting purchases recently?
It actually happened this past weekend at the Las Vegas opening. I can’t say her name, but a certain celebrity came into our store before it opened to kind of get a sneak peek. If you know us, then you know our mascot and good luck charm is a priceless Biggie Smalls action figure, and this celebrity came in and saw a bracelet hanging from the figurine and decided to buy it on the spot for their significant other. It was a celebrity, but it’s the moments that excite me; it’s how pieces are found in this mish mosh of stuff that create something so special. It makes the jewelry come full circle.
Main photo by Buck Ennis