As the name implies, once in a blue moon is a shop that doesn’t come around often. The owner, Bob Moon, has not only implemented his own name into the business, but also created an atmosphere within the store that mirrors his unique personality. Along with a collection of motorcycle models and a neon “Blue Moon" brewery sign adorned on the walls, Moon curates a diverse and truly breathtaking inventory of custom jewelry. When he’s not managing the shop, Moon can be seen teaching at Kaleidoscope in downtown Barrington, fostering the next generation of jewelry makers as he once was. Living60010 caught up with Moon and talked topaz.
Living60010: When did you first start making jewelry?
I learned how to solder in 1971 and started making little rings and then progressed to earrings. As I was learning, I became so passionate that I snuck into a college jewelry lab. The professor knew that I wasn’t a student, but saw my enthusiasm and let me stay.
LIVING60010: When did you want to take this passion and turn it into a business?
During the summer of my junior year in college, I was living down in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with a friend. He knew someone with a shop right along the beach and talked the owner into letting me set up and sell some my work to the beachgoers. I came back to Myrtle Beach after I graduated and worked with another jeweler down there to pay off my room and board. After working in a couple of jewelry shops around Virginia, where I went to college, I moved with my now wife to Chicago and opened a store here. Someone recommended I call it “Blue Moon” and I thought “once in a blue moon” had a better ring to it.
LIVING60010: Why did you choose Barrington, and specifically the Ice House Mall, for your location?
My wife met someone from Quaker Oats, who suggested that I look into opening a shop in Barrington. After meeting with numerous real estate agents, one of them recommended the Ice House Mall.
LIVING60010: What is your favorite type of metal to work with?
I would say silver or gold.
LIVING60010: Are there certain types of jewelry that you like making the most?
It’s all fun!
LIVING60010: Will there be any specialty pieces coming out soon?
Everything I make is special.
LIVING60010: Tell me a little bit more about the customizations you do for your customers.
I offer to make my customers’ old jewelry into new creations. I melt the piece down and configure it into whatever they like. Sometimes, the new product can potentially double their original investment.
LIVING60010: Besides your own creations, what other artists’ work do you carry in the store?
I have authentic Native American jewelry and some handmade pieces from Bali available here. One of my old friends from Virginia also makes custom leather handbags, so I carry them in the store as well.
LIVING60010: You seem to center your business on “protecting the environment” with your jewelry. Could you explain further?
We only have one earth. I carry a lot of genuine, man made crystals that were created in a laboratory, instead of tearing down a mountain. These, in turn, are less costly for the consumer and are environmentally friendly.
LIVING60010: How long have you lived in the area?
LIVING60010: What other organizations or groups are you involved with in the area?
I teach a jewelry class at Kaleidoscope and it’s been great. I offer a class for teenagers and adults.
LIVING60010: How has your relationship been like with Barrington Bank & Trust?
I love it. They’re local and have been amazing to work with. A true down home bank!
See some photos of Bob's work on his facebook page, click here