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Portland Jewelers Find Energy in Creative Spirit of Clients

Malka Diamonds moves from storefront to appointment business.





After shutdowns and vandalism in the summer of 2020 forced David and Ronnie Malka to close their original storefront location of Malka Diamonds in Portland, OR, the couple transitioned to a larger, second-floor, appointment-only space in the city’s Pearl District with a lounge area, private offices and more shop space. It’s perfect for their business with its focus on custom engagement and wedding jewelry. “Everyone walks in loving it,” says Ronnie. “They say that it feels like a hidden gem.” David is the son of Yossi Malka, a diamond wholesale dealer in Portland who started his diamond career cutting stones in Israel.

ONLINE EXTRA: Q & A with Ronnie Malka

Q. What is the key to custom?

A. Transparency is so important to our customers. I find that if someone is involved in the custom process they get to be part of a ring or a pendant that they love even more.

Q. How is your new space different from the old?

A. Our old space was half the size and you could see all the way from the front to the back. The new space is double the size at 2100 square feet, but there are different corners and areas, which makes foraan intimate, private and enjoyable experience. You don’t necessarily want the person standing next to you to know what you’re doing, when you’re shopping for jewelry.


Q. What has become important in the new space since you’ve given up your storefront windows?

A. I think that old school window shopping is a thing of the past. People might enjoy window shopping online but I don’t see a huge need to invest in window shopping for our environment. What we’re finding is that it’s shifted and the idea is almost opposite. It’s more about, “Let me go into the space and see rather than let me just walk by and see.” There’s definitely more value now in an online presence because the actual frame, the window is not as important as it was.”

Q. How have you become more accessible to your clients?

A. We’ve created an online booking option as a page on our website and in addition we added Tidio, a messaging app company. So, everything goes straight to my cell phone. If that message comes through and I’m available at 9 p.m. I’ll answer it and a lot of those leads are really great.

Q. What generational changes have you noticed?

A. I feel like in the past you bought what you found. But today our clients come in with ideas and inspiration and say, “Let’s create something.” Now we are pretty much all custom. We carry just a few lines we really like and outside of that we’re making everything in house.


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When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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