- Sep 3, 2013
- Reaction score
- Long Island, NY
- Hardiness Zone
Wow - Quite the story! We had a similar start. When I was in undergraduate school, my dad was in a bad accident.Hi Snoozer . Sorry to hijack your thread!
Hi Barry. I got into jewelry when I was still in graduate school in the late 70's and took over the family business which I thought was going to be temporary because my father became sick. At that time I knew actually nothing about jewelry and started selling thin gold chains at $1/in. The first year doing that I sold almost $1 million dollars of thin gold chains and charms! Later we moved into buying gold and I went to the GIA and received my diamond and colored stone degrees and the store moved full force into diamonds and engagement rings etc. I tried taking some classes in doing jewelry repair, but I was always busy in the store doing sales so I never really had time for it. About the same time we were selling a lot of engagement rings I started buying residential properties to rehab and rent out. After doing that for a while in the mid 90's I started developing new construction projects with some partners starting with single family houses and then doing as many as 50 units a year until the crash. At the same time I was still buying rental properties and rehabbing those and renting out apartments. I was doing all this simultaneously for about 8 years and I finally closed the jewelry store because there was too much profit in the real estate stuff compared to the store and the store was too time consuming. When i closed the store it was sad because you really become part of your customers lives as they plan out purchases. i had one couple buy the next 5 years of gifts because they couldn't see themselves going to another jeweler. I always like creating things as a jeweler, but once you were done you wouldn't see the ring unless the customer came by. When I was involved with working with the architects and creating housing developments I could always drive by and see them anytime I wanted! I still see them and actually recently went to help some folks at a 31 unit townhouse development I built. After the crash I helped banks with their REO's and now I just do gut rehab and construction as that is something I always supervised when I was a real estate developer and am very familiar with.
Ironically parallel to your story, I also went in to help out. I knew quite a bit as it was always a family discussion since I was a young child. At 10-12, I was doing errands for my dad in the city, carrying jewelry around the corner etc, the midtown jewelry center in NYC. I learned from many european jewelers in the city who taught me techniques in jewelry making and design, even repair and restoration. Time went on and in the late 70's, gold was already deregulated many years. We now had a store on the island but my folks were old school and afraid to raise prices on older stock that cost very little. Well, that was an accident waiting to happen. How could you replace stock selling it at old prices with gold prices so high. They were also older as my dad was 40 when I was born. It was tough working together so I made them an offer. Long story short, they retired down south and I paid them for 5 years buying a failing business. Then in late '79 going into 1980, we hit the gold rush. We had lines at the door from my bombardment of ads. I rebuilt the shop which then became a full fledged jewelry store from repairs, restoration, engagement rings, watches and even then collectible gifts such as lladro & Hummel. I wore many a hat from owner to designer, buyer and all inbetween. My wife and I also took the GIA courses. Later on, while all in college, each of my 3 daughters worked for a period of time along with the sales help. My wife became a gemologist, now hospice nurse. Basically closed 4 years ago and retired. It was a long journey. Now people ask, " What do you do with yourself all day " and the answer is ... Whatever I want ... ... I started the koi pond 27 years ago and did a third and last rebuild in 2013. We travel, have fun, grandkids ( 6 ) and listen to our married daughter's complain about their husbands. Regular STUFF ...