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The crown jewels 

The word Noor, for many people, brings to mind black or dark, especially coupled with the black motif inside the new jewelry store that bears the name. Maybe you’re thinking the word “noir?� Noor actually means light in Farsi (Persian), and is symbolic of friendship and the business union of owners Alexander Raissipour, a Persian American, and Adrian Bray, a British-born SLO transplant. The Noor specifically refers to a pair of infamous diamonds, the Dar-i-noor and the Koh-i-noor that are now part of the Persian and British crown jewels, respectively.

click to enlarge OPEN FOR BUSSINESS :  Alex Raissipour (right) and Adrien Bray (left) opened Noor, a jewelry store that specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces. - PHOTO BY JESSE ACOSTA
  • OPEN FOR BUSSINESS : Alex Raissipour (right) and Adrien Bray (left) opened Noor, a jewelry store that specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces.
# “We’ve been friends for quite a while and decided it would be good to go into business and work together,� Raissipour explained.
You may recognize Raissipour’s face—it used to be the one smiling from behind the counter of Blazing Blenders. Bray, too, isn’t a newcomer to the SLO business scene. For more than 16 years, he’s operated in the financial-management field, and both men are involved with local Rotary.
“We looked around, and this was perfect,� said Raissipour, who still owns the original smoothie shop.
He was referring to the old Blazing Blenders storefront where Noor is now housed. Although Raissipour hasn’t yet announced the new location for Blazing Blenders, he said that it will find a new and permanent home downtown.
The old smoothie counters cluttered with straws and stacked lids have been replaced with glass cases and shelves filled with treasures. The overall space is on the small side, but Raissipour insisted that it’s just the right size to give customers a positive experience.
“One of the ideas in the design is that it puts the pieces very close to the customer,� he said. “You can see the pieces—like in a museum.�
Indeed, very little space is wasted, so the room actually holds much more than you would expect.
There are quite a few original pieces in the showroom, including a collection of beautifully handcrafted stars of David, many of them fashioned by local artist Ron Wilson. The stars are unique—and apparently not easy to find in our area.
“We have been told, by many of our Jewish customers, that they could not find Jewish religious pieces,� Raissipour said with some amazement.
 Noor also carries other work by Wilson: large, earthy stones; twisted metal; and glass pieces. Noor also boasts a jeweler with more than 40 years’ experience.
Raissipour noted a corner that’s now filled with chairs—the future location of the shop’s bridal department, where customers can look at the intricacies of the stones and find encouragement toward involvement at all levels of the jewelry-making process.
Raissipour acknowledged that SLO already has several jewelry stores—especially in the downtown area-—but is positive that shoppers will find something new in his store.
“We have a growing and highly affluent community,� he explained.
He said that he sees the opportunity for SLO to become a jewelry-minded town and that it could be thought of as a destination for high-end jewelry and as a community that values art.
Friday, July 7, marks eight weeks of business, which have surpassed expectations for Noor’s owners. To celebrate, Noor is hosting a reception with wine and cheese at SLO’s monthly Art After Dark, to promote local artists and the business as more than a place to buy a ring. Noor also plans to participate with different artists as a gallery for Art After Dark. The grand opening starts Friday and will continue every Friday between 5 and 8 p.m. at 1108 Broad St. For more info call: 546-8000.

New Times contributor Kylie Mendonca compiled this week’s strokes and plugs. Send your business news to

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