(MARIETTA, Ga.) – Successful retailers usually fall into two groups; those who are good at business and enjoy jewelry, and those with a passion for jewelry who are good at business. Gerald, owner of the Jeweler on the Square retail store in historic Marietta, Georgia finds his first love in gems and the metal that holds them. A self-taught silversmith at age 14, Gerald followed his passions to an unusual, eclectic retail jewelry shop located on the town square in Middle America.
Walk into the store and you feel like you’re in a museum. Your senses are overwhelmed with the amount of items crammed into the space, which is fairly large. Vintage posters hang alongside oil paintings, original prints and renditions by local artists. Jewelry cases run the length of the store and display a variety of jewelry – from estate jewelry dating back to the 18th Century to American Indian and vintage costume with a collection of Victorian purses.
A well-loved jewelry bench sits encased in all the treasures. It shows the signs of many years of use and testifies to the expertise of the jeweler.
A pair of signed Baccarat crystal decanters sits idly on the counter next to the most unusual china dishes I’ve ever seen, in danger of being swallowed up in the immense volume of items in the store. This virtual buffet of highly sought after, almost ‘extinct’ items appeals to everyone who walks through the door, but it is the undeniable passion, knowledge and talent of the eccentric owner that keeps them coming back.
As he looks across his blue tinted, rectangular shaped glasses you wait patiently to hear what he has to say. He speaks slowly, choosing each word carefully as he explains his passion for the art of jewelry. With a hint of pride he recites stories of customers who’ve come to him with antique jewelry in hand seeking a redesign, only to hear that he won’t do it. Gerald simply tells them, “I can’t tear apart another jeweler’s art. Something that is so beautiful and took a jeweler weeks or months to make is something I just can’t destroy.” He then steers the customer into trading it for something they like better, so someone else can enjoy the masterpiece.
Gerald wasn’t born a southerner. He grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York. There were no schools to learn jewelry making. As an early teenager, he bought books, tools, lapidary equipment, a plumber’s propane torch, and other miscellaneous supplies. He taught himself the art of silversmithing.
Not until 1972 did he make his way to Augusta, Georgia where he officially started his jewelry career working at Friedman Jewelers. Quickly discovering that sales didn’t suit him, he transferred to the repair shop of Windsor Jewelers. Four years later he enrolled in the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology in Paris, Texas.
At the age of 28, with ten years jewelry experience under his belt, Gerald earned his Gemology Degree and fine-tuned his bench techniques. In the 23 years that he has been on the Marietta Square, he has excelled at jewelry design. He has become a master jeweler and acquired a large collection of museum quality merchandise. He appraises jewelry, art, glassware, coins, historical documents, and a variety of other collectible items.
Gerald joined Ellman’s as their master diamond setter when he returned to Georgia, but within several years they were bought out by Service Merchandise. At this juncture he knew it was time to do something different.
In 1984 he joined the Atlanta Antique Center, which fostered his life-long love of antique and estate items. As the jewelry repair man, Gerald immersed himself in vintage pieces until he decided to open his store in 1988.
Choosing Historic Marietta Square for his business location was no accident. The Square is located near Kennesaw Mountain Civil War battlefield and is adjacent to General Sherman’s headquarters. It is filled with eclectic shops, restaurants and theaters, all of which boast some connection to a past time.
From the very beginning the line between antique shop and jewelry store were blurred, which was exactly what Gerald wanted. “We never know from day to day what treasure will come through our door.”
It wasn’t long before his customers wanted more. Responding to their requests meant starting a gem club and a jewelry making class. Today, more than 100 people are registered for Gem Club events. At these events, guests may choose designer jewelry, learn about testing gemstones for authenticity, or find out about meteorite stones such as Moldavite.
At the same time Gerald operates an apprentice program. Believing in the value of working alongside an expert to learn the business, Gerald sponsors two or three apprentices at one time, taking care to instruct each one in wax design, metalsmithing, gemology, jewelry design and vintage jewelry. Sharing his love of jewelry, gems and metals with others just comes naturally to Gerald.
Another recent success is the two Internet stores he and his wife Ginger operate. They buy and sell jewelry and antiques around the world with almost 100% positive feedback. Online customers can’t get enough of the treasures they find at gemtiques2onthesquare and Ginger’s Victorian Attic.
Maybe that’s why his customers have so much to say about him:
Here are some CitySearch online comments:
“They have an absolutely incredible selection of jewelry with almost any gemstone you can imagine – more than I’ve ever seen in one location – and the staff is extremely knowledgeable. The jewelry is excellent quality at amazing prices. We went to a ‘Gem Club’ open house last week and had a great time learning about all the different gems. They had a drawing and we actually WON a $550 RUBY – we were thrilled and can’t wait to have Gerald design a beautiful piece of jewelry with it!”
“The Jeweler on the Square is now on my list of preferred shops. I will be recommending their services to friends and will return for jewelry repairs and when I am in need of a ‘one of a kind’ gift.”
“This is not your cookie cutter jewelry store. The pieces were breath taking. Not only did I get an appraisal but found a new jeweler!! They even set & design pieces. It’s truly a ONE STOP place.”
“I have to say that in a world that customer service has just gone out the door… Jeweler on the Square made me smile as I walked away. It just affirmed that there are still great people and great jewelers out there not waiting to rip you off.”
Gerald the Jeweler would love for you to stop by the store at 9 W Park Square NE, Marietta, GA 30062 or give him a call at 770-590-0775. You can also Google Jeweler on the Square and view a small portion of his inventory or link to his Internet stores which serve customers worldwide.