Retailer Spotlight: K.Jons Diamonds & Gems
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Stan Sherwin, CGA, and Mary Sherwin, RJ, are the owners of K.Jons Diamonds & Gems in Atascadero, CA. Stan first developed his fascination with gems and minerals when he went on family rock-hounding trips as a youth. Fast forward to 1980, when Stan and Mary opened their own jewelry store, K-Jon’s Fine Jewelers. In 2016, they updated the logo and name to K.Jons Diamonds & Gems.
Spectra Update got the chance to speak to the Sherwin’s and learn more about their dedication towards the American Gem Society, their business, and their clients.
AGS: You have a great story about a ring restoration that you didn't think would happen. Please share it with us!
One of our customers brought in this 1930’s era platinum ring that had all the stones missing. I mean all the metal had to be dug out around where the stones used to be. The ring was such a mess that I was discouraging my customer by telling her that finding the stones would be difficult enough, but then rebuilding the entire ring was near impossible. Then she told us why this particular ring was so valuable to her.
As a young girl, she remembered this ring vividly on her grandmother’s hand. Her grandmother was wearing it when she died inside her house as it burnt to the ground. At that point I knew I had to do our best to restore her grandmother’s ring. My customer had inherited the ring from her mother. Fortunately, she also had the center European cut diamond which was reset in a pendant, and all the small diamonds and sapphires which were in a stone paper from the jeweler who pulled them out. I took a deep breath and told her we would make it happen.
We have an amazing jeweler named Fred, who has been with us for 26 years. He did an amazing job building and cutting new seats and setting all the stones. Our entire staff knew the story and watched as Fred brought her grandmother’s ring back to life. The payoff was when our customer came to pick it up. As soon as I opened the box, she broke into uncontrollable crying as all the memories of her grandmother came flooding back. Our entire shop had to dry their eyes after that. To this day, that is the most rewarding moment I can recall.
AGS: Tell us about the one thing that has been most valuable to you as an AGS member.
CONCLAVE! It is absolutely the best event of its kind in our industry! We feel so passionate about it that one year, we closed our store and sent our entire staff of fifteen to Conclave. Last year, we sent five employees to Conclave. New employees are sent within the first two or three years of employment.
It’s so exciting for Mary and me to watch their eyes open wide as they understand what it means to be an AGS member and see the plethora of growth possibilities for them in the jewelry industry! If you are an AGS member, ATTEND CONCLAVE!
AGS: While attending Conclave, what are some actionable insights you’ve received and have taken back to the store.
Mary and I have so many take-aways from Conclave that have influenced us over the years. We both remember attending our first Conclave in Nashville 2001, where the theme was “Change.” We took an extra week off to explore the area after Conclave. We had already been contemplating building a new store for over a year because our area had been changing rapidly. We were driving out of Nashville on a “Conclave high,” when we looked at each other and came to the same realization: We have to move forward with building our new store! We have to “Change.” In November of 2004, we moved into our new building!
Interior view of today's K.Jons.
Another huge take away for me was at the 2005 Orlando Conclave, where I attended a session with Martin Rappaport. He was very adamant as he laid out the future of our industry and the world economy. He warned that there was a serious recession coming our way and we had better be prepared for it! He mentioned “economic warfare” and how it was going to affect all of us. I immediately went back and shared this with Mary and our managers. In the middle of December 2006, our entire staff noticed a change in our customers’ buying attitudes, even though that proved to be our biggest December ever. Our number analysis in early 2007 showed the beginning of the worst recession I have ever been in. I saw the signs early and started making serious adjustments because of what I heard in 2005. I credit our survival of the recession to the preparation and foresight I received that year at Conclave.
AGS: How has being an American Gem Society (AGS) member helped you, Mary, and K.Jons Diamonds & Gems?
The American Gem Society has been instrumental in guiding our business through the years! The peer group of AGS members reinforced that our values of ethics and integrity are alive and well in our industry. The Society offers the opportunity to become a better professional with their member networking, educational sessions, motivational speakers, and the trustworthy AGS suppliers. The AGS always emphasizes education and staying current with their annual title renewal.
AGS: What would you be doing today if you weren't in the jewelry industry?
Stan: If I wasn’t in the jewelry industry, I would still be working for the railroad. I spent 11 years working for the railroad as a conductor/trainman from 1969 to 1980, before I quit to open our store.
Mary: If I wasn’t in the jewelry industry, I would probably be saving the world in the Peace Corp.
AGS: Do you have a personal motto?
Stan: I guess it would have to be: Things happen for a reason. Throughout my personal and business life, I’ve experience both “good” and “bad.” As you become more “seasoned” in life, you realize that what you once thought was good, turned out to be bad, and vice versa. Things happen for a reason, so give it some time and you’ll probably find out why!
Mary: “Be the best you can be everyday, there is opportunity all around us!” We have been very blessed to be affiliated with the AGS and work in an industry that we continue to love to this day.
We realize that we would not be where we are today without our staff! They are the biggest and most valuable asset we have! In addition to our two AGS titles, our store has four other titleholders. We are currently in transition mode and taking more time away from the store with the hope of retiring in the next few years. Our staff is doing a wonderful job of keeping us off the schedule. We hope that K.Jons continues forward as one of the most respected jewelry stores in our area!
Stan and Mary with daughter, Stacy.
It's always a "roaring" good time at K.Jons!