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Texas Custom Jeweler Specializes in Redesigns

Britt Caffarena drawn to gems at an early age.




Britt Caffarena

When Britt Caffarena was 9, she fell in love with jewelry on the day her father gave her a 10K gold and diamond ring. “I couldn’t believe it was mine!” she says. She immediately wanted to see the tiny diamond under a microscope and learn about its facets. Soon after earning a bachelor’s degree in economics, she moved to California to earn her graduate gemologist degree from the GIA. Next, she studied metalsmithing, wax-casting and enameling at the Glassell School of Art in Houston. She opened Better Bling Studio, her gallery-style store in Stafford, TX, in 2017, where she hosts local artists in various media, designs jewelry, and redesigns customers’ treasures.

COLORFUL PASSION. I love colored stones, learning about where they are from, and teaching customers. My passion overflows from that. It’s a very colorful business. It makes me happy, and my customers respond to that.

LET FREEDOM RING. We do what we call freedom rings, redesigns when you’re putting your old life behind you. We can make a beautiful right-hand ring that makes a statement without looking bridal.

REPPING TEXAS. I’ve had that cowboy hat since I was in college. I’ll wear my cowboy hat whenever I can. I don’t always wear it to work. But I’m the vice-president of the Texas Jewelers Association. It is Texas and I am representing.

ONE-OF-AKIND WONDER. My passion is in creating new designs, so I didn’t necessarily want to have a large store full of lots of brand names. Our clients aren’t branddriven; they want unique, bespoke, one-of-a-kind. I’ll say, ‘We need to create a signature.

Q. What do you love about jewelry as a career?

A. My husband and I love to travel. So, we have gone to the Hong Kong show, the Thailand show, South Africa to the Cullinan mine. My father was in the military, so we moved around a lot. I got to live in Germany when I was a little girl. I still have that travel bug. That’s one thing I love about owning my business and being in an international business. I love learning about other cultures and where things come from. I love colored stones, learning about where they are from and teaching customers. My passion overflows from that. It’s a very colorful business. It makes me happy and my customers respond to that.

Q. What sets you apart as a jewelry retailer?

A. “My passion is for creating new designs so I didn’t necessarily want to have a large store full of lots of brand names. I wanted to continue to be a creator. I needed a space that was good to grow from. And maybe in the future I will carry more designer brands. But what we’re known for is our redesign. There’s lots of big, ugly jewelry in Texas. So we have a lot of work to do! We have a jeweler on the premise and some assistants who help me. We have an Etsy store, we have online sales, but the bulk of our sales are in-house, which are custom designs, custom bridal and classic repairs.”

Q. What do you enjoy about redesigning customers’ jewelry?

A. “I had a lady whose husband passed and wanted to make a ring with 30 stones in it, for the years they were together. I couldn’t pinpoint what she wanted. I asked, `Is there something in your house that makes you smile every time you see it, and makes you think of your husband?’ She said, well there’s a zebra skin from when we went to Africa that he bought, and was so proud of. So we made the whole ring black and white zebra stripes with tiny diamonds. I always ask, `Is there something in your life, a particular frame you love the border on it, or something else you can think of that brings that joy to you?’ And we’re going to try to capture that in a ring.

“We also do what we call Freedom rings, redesigns when you’re putting your old life behind you. We can make a beautiful right-hand ring that makes a statement without looking bridal.”

Q. How did you fall in love with jewelry?

A. “I will never forget the day that my dad gave me a ring with a tiny, sparkling diamond illuminating the center. I couldn’t stop staring at it! I immediately wanted to see it through a magnifying glass and later a microscope. The passion has never ceased.

“I was 9 and I opened up this little box and it was a gold and diamond ring and I said, `Is it real?’ I couldn’t believe it. I brought it outside and was inspecting it. I couldn’t believe it was mine and I was so in love with it. I went to my dad’s office and saw it in the microscope, and I said `How do they cut that?’ It was 10K gold, a tiny little ring from Service Merchandise. He had no idea how much it would impact me.

“Later, my mom asked me if I wanted a class ring and I said no, I thought they were ugly. Instead, she got me a blue stone, my birthstone, an aquamarine. She said we’re going to go to the jewelry store and design a ring. I was feeling really intimidated and the owner said `Come downstairs we’re going to show you where we make the jewelry!’ I designed a really cool ring and they told me I had a knack for design. I asked them, `How can I study gemology?’ I was 16.”

Q. Considering your early interest, why did you wait until after studying economics in college to turn your attention to jewelry?

A. “I didn’t even know I was very artistic. I knew I loved music and theater and I happened to be really good at math. When I was in college, I did debate and speech, and I knew I was outgoing. But I didn’t have time for art classes. But the last semester I had some electives I could take. So, I took an art class and the instructor said, ‘You really should think about being an artist.’”

Q. What were you looking for in your retail location?

A. “I did not want to be in a traditional strip center. I wanted to have more of a gallery style or art space. I looked around to find something safe and secure. It’s right next door to the police station and the fire station, it has great traffic and the building had been completely remodeled. Rent is more affordable in Stafford, and it’s right next door to Sugarland. It’s a centralized location. I have clients from Houston and Sugarland. And 70,000 cars drive by every day. My husband, Giancarlo, is a professional musician and he will perform on the back patio for art show openings.”



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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