Family Affair - Heritage Fine Jewelry


Since the beginning of time, ancient civilizations have been using shells, stones and other items like bones to carefully craft meaningful jewelry and decorative accessories. With the development of metal-working, jewelry became an art form that speaks to the heart, delighting wearers.

At Heritage Fine Jewelry on Hilton Head Island, the owners and staff know that each client has his or her own unique taste. This family business in Shelter Cove Towne Centre provides personal, Old World service, offering a wide variety of hand-picked pieces, from sterling silver to high-end fine jewelry, engagement and wedding rings, and precious stones. And if you don’t see something that makes your heart beat a little faster, the shop’s experts can design and craft a custom piece just for you.

Heritage Fine Jewelry2Patti Catalano started the business in 1975 in Florida, moving the store and her family to Hilton Head in 1990. Her children, Patrick Safe, Doug Safe and Jennifer Lance, all grew up in the business, and each has his or her speciality.

Catalano enjoys the creative process, from crafting the plans for a stunning piece of jewelry that fits her client’s personality to selecting the perfect stones and actually making the item. All custom designs and repairs are done in Heritage Fine Jewelry’s on-premises lab.

For Lance, it’s all about sharing a special time in someone’s life, whether they’re shopping for an engagement ring to the perfect piece to celebrate a milestone event.

“These are important times in someone’s life, and it’s an honor to share it with them,” she said. “I enjoy helping couples select an engagement ring. And for significant anniversaries or occasions, often the husband will come in to buy his wife a larger diamond or make an entirely new ring from her diamond, adding other stones.”

The Belle Étoile collection speaks to Doug Safe: “From simple contemporary designs to ornately decorated pieces, there’s sure to be a style to fit everyone,” he said. 

The shop’s collections offer a wide variety of materials and styles, from rhodium-plated sterling silver to hand-painted multi-colored Italian enamel, inlaid designs, and a high-fashion collection made of Italian rubber. The Sea Turtle collection showcases scenes from ocean life and can be a great memento of an island vacation.  

Sales associate Elaine Kohler, meanwhile, loves the designs of Phillip Gavriel — the perfect way to get the designer look without the designer price tag. Available in gold or the popular two-tone combination of gold and silver, the versatile and chic jewelry line fits a variety of lifestyles: sporty, casual, high-end jewelry. Many styles are richly textured with cable, woven and popcorn designs, and some include diamonds and colored stones.

“There’s a real mix, with something for everyone,” Kohler said of the line. “You can get a great look and it works well for all ages.”

Patrick Safe spends much of his time in the store’s lab, handling repairs, custom designs and stone work. He takes great pride in the work he does and enjoys spotting his handiwork on the street, sparkling around the necks and wrists and on the fingers of people in the community.

That careful attention to detail is shared by everyone on the Heritage team, and it’s evident in the joy they take in helping clients find the perfect piece of jewelry to be lovingly worn for years to come.