When Donna Soodalter-Toman was a little girl, she liked watching her mother adorn her outfits with jewelry. She saw her mother’s look change with each piece she put on. “I saw that jewelry could create a kind of magic, and I fell under its spell.” That’s what inspired Donna to start making her own jewelry in the 1960s. Ultimately, she turned her love for adornments into a career.
She began participating in jewelry shows, then opened her own shop 12 years ago. In 2016 she moved to Gloucester and opened her latest shop, DIVA. “Gloucester has the oldest art colony in the entire United States. It’s the oldest fishing village. There are sail makers here, furniture makers, sculpture. So it’s just a wonderful place to be in terms of arts and crafts,” she says.
DIVA, or Donna’s Infinite Variety of Adornments, features pieces made by Donna and other artisans specially chosen by her. DIVA also offers vintage and antique jewelry going back to the 1700s.
“When people come to my shop, not only will they get personalized attention—they’ll get the history,” she says. Donna loves to give the background for each piece to help her customers understand what makes it special. She wants them to take pleasure in wearing everything she makes or sells. “Jewelry should make someone feel better by wearing it.” We couldn’t agree more.
DIVA is located at 161 Main Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts.