J, M, Z at Essex St.
Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons jeweler Derrick Cruz is known for his unusual designs: scrimshaw pendants made from vintage ivory piano keys, gold-cast honeycomb necklaces, razors carved from woolly mammoth tusks, and diamond-studded stickpins. Cruz laucnhed Occulter in July 2010, an appropriately offbeat shop on the Lower East Side. The narrow, cleverly designed space — outfitted with magnetic shelving units and portable displays — offers new and used books (mainly esoteric titles on mysticism and alchemy from Ouroboros Press), limited-edition vinyl, picks from past collections, and exclusive one-offs. Though many of the rare, handcrafted pieces are necessarily pricey, Cruz and his assistant, Christine Samar, have introduced several rose gold and sterling silver necklaces and earrings that fall comfortably in the $70 to $200 range.