Sarah Hill

Owner | Graduate Gemologist

Sarah Hill can’t believe how lucky she is to have a life where her vocation and avocations collide. Passionate about art, design, fashion, personal style, and urban revitalization, the Hamilton Hill owner is in her element working with clients and designers and being a merchant in her beloved 27701 (downtown Durham!). On the winding road to Hamilton Hill, Sarah earned a Graduate Gemologist certificate from the Gemological Institute of America and a B.A. in English from the University of Florida. In her non-jewelry work life, she has had the honor of being employed by the Smithsonian Institution, The Urban Institute, Duke Women’s Studies, and the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, where she met Michael Hamilton (!). Paperwork and business matters require a good deal of Sarah’s time, but if she could, she would spend all day, every day talking jewelry and life with her incredible clients. Sarah generally works Tuesdays through Saturdays and is happy to take appointments.


Michael Hamilton


Michael Hamilton grew up in an area of France that was home to many artists, including Chagall, Matisse, Renoir, Picasso and another of Michael's favorites, Nicolas de Stael. He has often wished he could have been an artist, but being part of Hamilton Hill has fulfilled many of his yearnings to be involved in the arts. Michael studied the flute at the Eastman School of Music and later played in the US Marine Band and Orchestra assigned to the White House. He went on to study medicine at the University of Rochester and after graduation became a Peace Corps physician serving in Afghanistan from 1967 to 1969, when it was perfectly safe to wander unaccompanied in the remotest parts of that beautiful country. Before founding Hamilton Hill with Sarah Hill, he was a faculty member at Duke Medical Center where he was Director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. In the shop only occasionally these days, Michael still travels on behalf of HH and can be reached at



Sales Pro, Buyer, GIA Diamonds

Born and raised in Iowa, Shelly enjoys the small-town feel yet bigger city attitude of the vibrant Durham community. Having been the proprietress of a specialty pet boutique, Shelly is at home in retail with the Hamilton Hill team, clients, and designers. Since being hired in late 2011, Shelly has represented HH at national and international events in Munich, Vicenza, Las Vegas, and Tucson, in addition to completing her Gemological Institute of America Diamonds course. On fall and winter weekends you might find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and “her” Iowa Hawkeyes, while her warmer weather interests include kayaking, fishing, and hiking around the Eno with her high-maintenance dog, Tally, who “better be glad she is so cute.”



Admin, Sales

When Muriel Tissonnier moved to Durham in early 2015, she added the Bull City to her interesting list of homes that includes Zurich and Interlaken, Switzerland, and Durango and Denver, Colorado. She and husband Nick Piscitello (born and raised in Chapel Hill) made the trek out east with dog daughter Lucille. Within days, having been interviewed long distance, she began working at Hamilton Hill, and within a year, she and Nick settled into a new home in central Durham. She’s since been putting her art-business management skills to work here at Hamilton Hill. Art, food, new friends, and the general Durham culture make it a happy home for Muriel and family.



Designer Goldsmith

Since Ken was knee-high to a grasshopper as the son of professional artists on Long Island (East Meadow) he has been fiddling with the tools of the jewelry trade. For nearly five decades now in his professional life, he has aspired to create high-end jewelry as a designer/goldsmith. He is capable of creating, repairing and restoring almost any piece of jewelry, often through highly technical and detailed methods. He can sketch to perfection, hand engrave, and hand fabricate intricate pieces. Ken is passionate about metals, stones, design motifs and finds joy in being part of clients’ joyful experiences. Other passions include humans Stephany, Oliver, and Emily; furballs who come and go, giving love, leaving fur and sweet memories; music of just about every flavor; flavorful food and the cooking of it; living a peaceful life in rural NC.




Sheila Stillman is an accomplished woman busy leading an interesting life. One of her pursuits and passions is jewelry. She designs and makes it (hand granulation — not for sissies), she enthusiastically guides clients towards smart choices, she rocks it. Like many a grande dame, Sheila is known for her bold, everyday pinky ring, which in Sheila’s case is blue sapphire. Serious sailing (NYC harbor, Caribbean island hopping), lovin' on dog Tackle, and maintaining her psychotherapy practice are other notable aspects of Sheila’s life. Seems both her left and right brains are active and effective and we’re glad to have both.




Brooklyn in the HHouse! Brooklyn born and bred, Amanda and her husband, Tod, a Minnesota guy, moved to Durham in fall 2013. Though her previous work experience has been in the nonprofit sector, her background is in print production, so she is no stranger to good design. Amanda is a runner, a live music patron, a sports fan, and an animal lover. Her two bargain shelter cats, Vika and Mavis, are the best $10 she ever spent.


Ms. Wilhelmina "Billie" C. Jeans Hill

Shop Mascot

Ms. Billie Jeans Hill has been part of the Hamilton Hill family since Thanksgiving 2011 when she was a stray in the Brightleaf neighborhood. Found initially by Mr. Bill Jeans, Billie immediately took to the retail life. She is a pro at bringing people together and protecting the shop from other dogs. The HHumans hope we're not causing her an identity crisis by referring to her as Willie, Billers, BillBill, Beauty Princess and other silly names born of our love for her, but we can’t help ourselves. Billie only shares her email address with close friends and family but welcomes your visit in person anytime!