India Rows was born and raised in Thomson, Georgia, but attended boarding school at The Madeira School, outside of Washington, D.C. She came to Athens to go to the University of Georgia, where she majored in Recreation Resource Management. India traveled extensively after graduating from UGA, and lived in Colorado, California, Chile and Canada. She came back to Athens and works as a pearl buyer for her companies, The Pearl Girls and The World of Pearl. The Pearl Girls has a showroom at 548 Hawthorne Ave., where her staff creates one of a kind jewelry from the pearls India sources from around the world. The World of Pearl takes travelers around the globe to visit India’s contacts at international pearl farms and to experience the culture in the areas where pearls are found. She lives in the Cobbham Historic Neighborhood with her family.
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Traveling! It is my favorite thing in the world. After my Canadian husband and I got married, we went on a trip through Asia while waiting on his green card. And I found so many beautiful pearls. I had received my own strand of pearls from my dad when I was eight years old so I had this really sentimental attachment to pearls. I bought some pearls, friends asked me to buy some for them and it sort of slowly grew from there. But, I really think it is just the love of travel and the love of having something extremely sentimental and special from my travels.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens and what do you love there?
I love to eat out and Athens has so many fabulous restaurants but my favorite is probably Heirloom. I love their deviled eggs, their salads, the chicken mull. I like the caramel cake. Sometimes, I will go and just eat that! And, their drinks! I like their drinks too. I can walk there from my house. It is so great.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I would go to Qatar. I have been to over 13 pearl farms all over the world but I have yet to explore the world of natural pearls. The Middle East is a hub for natural pearls because that used to be a huge industry in the Persian Gulf. There is a pearl museum in Qatar and there are yearly pearl diving festivals in Qatar and Bahrain. It is really where I want to go, but I cannot find anyone to go with me.
If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it say?
“Hey girl, you don’t have to be so tough.” As a businesswoman I spent many years trying to button up and hide my sensitive side. I thought that was the way to get ahead. Now, I see there is great power in being vulnerable and speaking my truth. Sometimes I just want to cry and be okay with that. I would put that one, or I would put something a bit bossy like “quit blaming people.” I feel like people can be quick to blame things on other people. Sometimes, I just sit with myself and say, “Nope this is just all you. You have no one else to blame.” Which is a-okay, too!
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say, “Girl, you are just perfect.” I think back on my younger years and I marvel at how mean I was to myself! I want to go back and give myself a little pep talk.
If you could see any band or any show anywhere, what would it be and where?
I think I would go see a big band playing 1940s music. Somewhere I could just dance and listen to that music with all the horns.
What is your favorite thing to do in Athens on your downtime?
I like to eat out a lot, so I go to a lot of restaurants. And most of my life revolves around kids, so I like to go jump on the trampolines at Rush, we like to visit with friends, walk around town, grab juices at Journey Juice, ride our bikes, go to the parks and playgrounds, have nerf wars.
What is your favorite season in Athens?
Spring time. Every day, walking my kids to school during spring I am like this is amazing! I mean all the blooming trees and flowers are so insanely gorgeous. It is stunning. It is like I am alive and this is awesome! Fall is good when it comes though, too, because summer is just so hot, and that certain type of cool day that is nice and bright and you are going to a football game– that just might be the perfect day as well.
What is something interesting about you that most people do not know?
Even though I love pearls, I do not eat oysters. I also do not make jewelry! Which is odd since I own a jewelry business that specializes in handmade jewelry. Most people assume I make the jewelry but I leave it to our talented staff to do that!
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home”?
Light, laughter and kitchen.
** June is Pearl Month! Drop by The Pearl Girls to see all the new jewelry for June or visit them online at ThePearlGirls.com. The Pearl Girls also specializes in jewelry repair and reknots and India can tell you about the old strand of pearls you have in your jewelry box. Feel free to pop in and say hello and chat about pearls! The Pearl Girls is open Tuesday – Friday, 10AM – 4PM and Saturdays 10AM – 2PM.