By Sue Pascoe
So, mom did that mom thing on Mother’s Day and said, “Isn’t that nice. Thank you so much.” But somehow you knew she wasn’t that thrilled about the gift card (not personal), the lingerie (just what every woman wants, right?) or the strawberries/flower combination that the radio promised all women want.
Mi-Lina Jewelry (located at 970 Monument, next to Pinnochio’s) has a gift that every woman really wants.
Owner Lynn Acorda-Baldo showed off some of the exquisite high-end fashion jewelry to the News during a recent visit.
“I love jewelry,” she said—and one could tell, the selection is quite lovely.
Although the store has been in the Palisades since 2016, the prior focus was on wholesale jewelry, which Acorda-Baldo ran with a partner. He traveled to different areas around the country selling, while she stayed at the store. “We were so busy with wholesale, we didn’t concentrate on retail,” she said.
Then in July 2017, her partner wanted to get off the road and retire from the jewelry business. “He was tired of traveling, and it’s
tough to travel with a million dollars of jewelry,” said Acorda-Baldo, who noted that many who sell wholesale are victims of theft.
Acorda-Baldo seized the opportunity to open her own retail business and loves her new store.
Born in the Philippines, she graduated from Philippines Women’s University in Manila in 1986 with a degree in business administration.
Her first job was in the movie industry with Columbia Pictures.
“That’s how I came here [United States],” said Acorda-Baldo, who attended UCLA and earned a degree in accounting in 1994. She then found a job as controller at a high-end fashion jewelry store in Malibu, managing the office and overseeing the sales staff and the jewelry selection process.
“We had our jewelry made,” she said. “We selected the diamonds and the designs, and they were then sent to a factory in Torrance to be finished.”
That jewelry was then given to sales representatives to sell to other retailers.
“During the recession [2008-10], jewelry, especially high-end, was really, really affected,” Acorda-Baldo said. “A lot of people were laid off and people could not sell.” The business she worked for underwent a restructuring and a new business was opened in Santa Monica in 2014.
Two years later the business shifted to the Palisades. Acorda-Baldo is now on her own. “I’m concentrating on retail,” she said, noting that her jewelry is totally different than what is currently offered in other Palisades stores. “It is simple high-end jewelry, such as diamonds and white gold,” she said.The lines are clean, and the jewelry, although expensive, can be worn day and night, because of its simplicity.
If a woman can only have one piece of expensive jewelry, what should it be?
“Earrings,”Acorda-Baldo said.“It’s closest to your face and it will be the first thing someone will notice when they look at you.”
If you have a more limited budget, Mi- Lina recommends buying a pendant first. “Some of my clients do that, then buy the matching earrings later.”
And the stone?
“Most woman always want to have diamonds first,” she said. “If you have a red dress, you probably don’t want to wear emeralds.” Mi-Lina has a large selection of diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires, but also yellow diamonds. Acorda-Baldo showed the News a piece that had white and yellow diamonds set in white gold that was stunning. “Yellow diamonds are generally more expensive than clear diamonds, but it does depend on the clarity,” said Mi-Lina, who admitted that she is still learning the Palisades market.
She showed an “X” ring, in which 55 baguette diamonds (slender, rectangle-shaped), measuring 3.78 carats, were surrounded by 83 round diamonds, measuring 2.83 carats—forming an X across the finger.
Acorda-Baldo and her husband, Achilles Baldo, live in the Mar Vista area. They have a cat . . . named Jade, of course.