How long have you been at Stones Jewelry?
“I’ve been with Stones for 9 years; since 2004. I was working at a place that did repairs and settings for 3 different stores, and it downsized. I knew some people downtown who were in ‘findings’, which is what they call dealing parts for jewelry, and they let me know about this job.”
What is your role at Stones?
“I am the jeweler. I mostly do repairs, though there is some manufacturing.
I place stones in settings – and this can be pretty high-pressure. Most of what you see in our case is what is called ‘semi-set’: the side diamonds are in place without the center stone. When a ring is purchased, the customer generally wants the stone set and ready-to-go that day – They don’t want to give a ring to their lady just to have her give it back to the store! But the crew at Stones makes those time-crunch situations fun for me.”
How did you decide to become a jeweler?
“Oh, now that’s a story. I’m actually 3rd generation. My grandfather worked in Chicago – had his own store, and that was a life-long career. My uncle learned from him and got his own jobbing shop — back in the 60’s, most jewelers didn’t have repairs available in their stores, so jewelers would go to jobbing shops to have their repairs done. It wasn’t long before they figured out it was better to have this service in-house, and it changed to what it is, now.
My father was a watchmaker. He actually lived across the street from mother growing-up and would visit her often as a child. Her father was a watchmaker, with his own shop in their basement at home. My dad ended up learning the trade from her father on his visits – frustrated my mom just a bit all the time he’d spend in the shop rather than with her.
Anyways, I lived upstairs from Grandfather growing up, and started learning from him when 12 years old. I then worked for my uncle, who taught me a lot of what I know. And that’s how eventually I ended up here.”
Do you have a favorite customer story?
“We have a customer that comes in, Judy, who must have a hundred rings. She thinks we can do no wrong. When she sees me, she’ll start yelling, ‘There’s my genius!’ and it makes my day. She’s a wonderful person; so fun to be with. Most customers are serious and, who can blame them, it’s a nerve-racking purchase! But people like her break up the tenser purchases.”
What’s your favorite thing about working at Stones?
“I wish I had found this place earlier. They’re just… nice. They ask me to come out and interact with the customers – I just didn’t experience that other places I worked. Those places were much more a factory. This is family.”