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My Store: Jewelsmith’s Linda McGill

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October’s “Cool Store” owner talks about her store.

 

[dropcap cap=I]n 1975, armed with no more than an art degree, a little bit of equipment and a passion for jewelry design, I joined a couple of high school friends to start a small jewelry repair business in my home town, Durham, NC. I quickly gained a hands-on understanding of the business side of jewelry to complement my artistic education. My cohorts in the business moved on to other endeavors in those first few years but I was hooked. [/dropcap]

The late ’70s and early ’80s were a time of booming growth for the Triangle area in North Carolina (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill). It was the perfect time to grow a jewelry business in the town I love. Prestigious universities like Duke, UNC, and NC State attracted a larger number of highly educated and multicultural people to the area, which was also becoming a hot spot for the arts. As the community changed, so did I. In that first decade of hard work and strategic changes Jewelsmith emerged as “the” destination for unique jewelry and superior customer service.

Over the course of the next 20 years the demand for Jewelsmith jewelry quickly grew to a point where more goldsmiths were needed. Although custom design was still the specialty, we also began to have jewelry on display for sale. The store moved from a small workshop to a series of larger and more visible locations. Rapid growth, in any industry, can often lead to a decline in quality and service; but I was determined not to let that happen. I took steps to make sure that ethics and customer relationships would always remain the store’s highest priority. The philosophy was a simple one: treat customers well, deliver quality and they will return. A knowledgeable team of jewelry professionals was established. Jewelsmith became an accredited AGS store with a fully equipped gem laboratory on site along as well as two CJAs to ensure accurate appraisal work and superior gem selection.

Besides just changing in size and location, Jewelsmith quickly became a powerhouse of jewelry design. I, as well as the talented members of my goldsmith team, started winning many national and international awards: PLATINUM GUILD INTERNATIONAL, over 10 AGTA SPECTRUM AWARDS, DEBEERS DIAMONDS TODAY, INTERNATIONAL PEARL COMPETITION, JCK DESIGN AWARD, and MJSA DESIGN AWARD, to name a few. The store has become synonymous with originality and quality.

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In the 33 years that Jewelsmith has been in business, I have been dedicated to customer service, great design, quality craftsmanship and one other essential ingredient- my employees. My philosophy here is simple, hire talented people, share my vision with them and keep them as happy as possible. No prima donnas here, including me: the sales team, the goldsmiths, the gemologists and the administration work together on each item that we create. There’s a lot of talent under one roof at Jewelsmith. It’s a singularly unique type of operation that is a source of pride for both me and my remarkable team.

[blockquote class=grey]No prima donnas here, including me: the sales team, the goldsmiths, the gemologists and the administration work together on each item that we create.[/blockquote]

[span class=note]This story is an “online extra” to the October 2009 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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