Tucked in a corner of Landsdowne Centre, there is a store called Creative Jewelers. It’s run by a Russian couple, Slava and Alina Kholodnov. While it’s not on a main street, people are finding them — mostly by word of mouth.
“We’re doing well,” said Alina Kholodnov. “We have a lot of referrals; people like our service and our prices.”
Slava Kholodnov, who is quieter, smiled, and said, “They like Alina.”
“I was a little worried at first, but every time I go in there, they seem to have traffic,” said Pam Baker-Neil, a regular customer. “It’s just a really nice store. Every time I go in there, I find something new.”
She purchased glass beads as Christmas gifts for all her daughters. For her husband’s 50th birthday, she gave him a lapis and diamond ring that was designed by Slava Kholodnov. Many of the items in the store are custom made by Slava Kholodnov, who learned his trade at an art school in Russia. A jeweler since 1967, he came to the United States in 1976 and continued his trade here. Initially working for Town Silver & Goldsmith in White Flint Mall, he spent almost 20 years working for Kay Jewelers. He has also designed pieces for Christian Bernard, Sachs, Nieman Marcus and Reeds Jeweler. Owning his own store was a dream of his, and when the children got a little older, Alina Kholodnov, who had not worked when they were young, decided, it was time.
AFTER LOOKING AROUND, they found the space in Landsdowne Centre. It’s located at the intersection of Telegraph and Beulah Roads in the same shopping center with Red, Hot & Blue and Dairy Queen. They opened in October, 2003.
Alina Kholodnov is no stranger to risk. She met Slava Kholodnov 15 years ago when she came to the United States as a visitor. Her friend introduced her to him, and two weeks later he asked her to marry him. She phoned her mother and said she wasn’t coming back to Russia; she’s been here ever since.
“I had to call the university where I taught and tell my boss that I’m not coming back,” said Alina Kholodnov.
The couple has two children, Jason, 14 and Nicole, 12; they currently live in Burke.
Fletie and Stuart Allen were customers of Slava Kholodnov's when he worked at Kay Jewelers and followed him to the new place. The Allens used to travel to Tysons Corner and now Slava Kholodnov is only 10 minutes away.
“It’s nice that they’re so close,” said Stuart Allen. “They’ve done so much work for us; it’s hard to remember all the things.”
ONE OF THE PIECES he does remember is the onyx ring that they purchased for their son. They selected the ring and the setting and had his initials engraved.
“We’ve done it all — from repairs to custom pieces,” said Fletie Allen who just had a ring with peridots and diamonds made for Christmas.
“The shop is so different,” she said. “We are so pleased with them. They’re just good people and fun to talk to.”
“They have things that other shops don’t have, and they work so well together,” said Stuart Allen.
Baker-Neil thinks the Kholodnovs are great, and said, “it’s a wonderful family atmosphere.”
In addition to the ring she had made for her husband, she also has a diamond necklace made by Slava Kholodnov.
“I drew the design and together we came up with a product,” Baker-Neil said.