When he began out in enterprise 40 years in the past, Scottsdale, AZ.-based U.S. jeweler Oliver Smith (pictured above) by no means imagined he’d finally design various wonderful jewellery collections, plus discovered the heritage firm Oliver Smith Jeweler. Nor did he envision that he’d turn out to be famend for promoting status watches and pre-owned luxurious timepieces in eponymous boutiques in Scottsdale and Aspen, CO. As Smith celebrates his 40th anniversary in enterprise, the modest, witty and sensible jeweler emailed with this author to debate how he has accomplished all the above and extra.
Whereas he admitted that, “I all the time did imagine I’d achieve success,” Smith credited self-knowledge and respect for purchasers as serving to him plot a profitable course. “The jewellery enterprise is ideal for me, as a result of I’m a long run planner who by no means tried to arduous promote my shoppers. I’m all the time comfortable to hit singles relatively than residence runs,” he famous. Whereas his expertise for designing and creating customized gemstone jewellery has helped distinguish his Scottsdale and Aspen boutiques, a telling issue behind his success is his dedication to enhanced communications with shoppers. “Creating unique gemstone jewellery designs requires that you simply take heed to your shopper, talk and construct belief between one another. Nice jewelers final as a result of they are often trusted,” he declared.
Whereas the primary technology jeweler and household man can be a surfer, Nature lover and creator, his cardinal maxim, “It’s vital to all the time encompass your self with individuals smarter than your self who’re out of your trade!” This motto additionally appears to have helped energy Smith’s profession path and eventual success. As Smith famous, “The jeweler David Yurman and I’ve spent a number of time collectively through the years, and whereas he was all the time sensible with reference to manufacturing, David additionally taught me how to take a look at gems, and purchase them with care. Leopoldo Poli, the founding father of the Italian firm La Nouvelle Bague, taught me an awesome deal about fashion. Philippe Bonay, the North American President of the good watch firm Panerai, taught me about advertising and marketing. Giovanni Carestia, with Van Cleef and Arpels, taught me be affected person. Benny Yakimi, from Colorline, taught me perceive Sapphires.”
“One in all my main objectives,” he added, “has all the time been to be considered the benchmark for doing issues proper, and with distinctive fashion. In our fortieth yr, I’m most happy with by no means taking the straightforward highway, all the time working arduous for my shoppers, and of preserving my household collectively.” Initially from Pennsylvania, Smith moved to the West Coast in 1981. He opened his first jewellery retailer on Balboa Island in Newport Seashore, and relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1985. There, he opened a small store targeted on designing, appraising, shopping for and promoting jewellery and watches. Oliver and Aimee, his spouse of 32 years, raised their three youngsters in Arizona and stay energetic within the Scottsdale group.
In keeping with Smith, his design aesthetic, materials sourcing and method developed out of necessity. “Initially I designed jewellery to fill gaps in my stock,” he recalled. “Since I’m a primary technology jeweler I used to be endlessly studying on the fly. More durable than designing, nonetheless, was discovering somebody who may fabricated the jewels and do it to my requirements. Whereas designing was all the time nice enjoyable, discovering craftsmen and placing up with a few of their excuses was robust! The great thing about having accomplished this for thus lengthy,” he mirrored, “is that I now have a tremendous group of craftsmen that may make any piece of bijou I dream up, and so they could make it good!”
Smith is presenting his “Cairn” and “Prism” collections throughout his fortieth anniversary yr. Named for cairns, the stacked rock sculptures that people have created for millennia to mark factors on trails and roadsides, the diamond-studded Cairn assortment elegantly marks factors on life’s journey, he defined, “With Nature and sustainability in thoughts, I exploit many diamonds from recycled jewellery, designing with stones of various shapes, colours, sizes, and readability. I exploit them to craft unique heirlooms which might be lovely and sustainable. Just like the cobblestone paths, stacked stones and rocky river beds that encourage this assortment, every bit on this assortment combines totally different sizes and styles of diamonds to create lovely kinds which might be by their very nature distinctive.”
Smith added that “Cairn grew out my love of the outside,” and his abiding curiosity within the parts, energies and types of Nature. “Once I was conceiving Cairn,” he associated, “I used to be making an attempt to do one thing that mimicked the sleek, rounded types of river rocks discovered at Rincon Level, a wonderful spot beneath Santa Barbara that I surf each time I can.” (Rincon Level is famend for being among the finest waves on the planet, and its rounded river rocks pave the shoreline and provides the ocean ground a easy, constant contour.) “I’m presently designing extra items for the Cairn assortment that may embody coloured gems,” he added.
On the reverse finish of the colour spectrum, the Prism assortment attracts its ideas from the dynamic palettes of the psychedelic 1970’s period. “Gucci has been designing garments and equipment with insane colour mixtures and vibrant patterns for the previous few years that jogged my memory of what I noticed and beloved once I was rising up within the 1970’s,” he associated. “Gucci fanned the flames of that development by reviving wild colours in a recent manner for immediately. Once I was shopping for gems this previous yr, the Ceylon Sapphires caught my eye. As I performed with them,” he associated, “I expended the designs to incorporate the total vary of coloured Sapphires. Additionally the colourful sapphire bezels on watches had been beginning to decide up curiosity just lately, and I assumed that coloured sapphire bracelets would go completely with these type of watches.”
Whereas every assortment Smith designs all the time consists of some earring designs, he burdened that, “Watches grew to become an enormous a part of our enterprise within the final 10 years. We’ve all the time had a relationship with sure status watch manufacturers. We had been one of many first jewelers within the U.S. to hold Panerai timepieces within the US again in 1999. (Manufacturing watches in Neuchatel, Switzerland, Panerai is headquartered in Florence, Italy and is owned by the Richemont Group.) We began to get severe concerning the pre-owned watch enterprise about 10 years in the past,” Smith defined. “Watch collectors like to commerce in, and commerce up, and we’re specialists in pre-Vendome Panerai.” (The Vendôme group bought Panerai in 1997; any watches bought earlier than then are thought-about Pre-Vendome.) “ Many of the buckles on these fashions are totally different than those usually seen on up to date Panerais,” Smith wrote, “however fans like to buy Pre-Vendôme buckles for his or her straps.” Smith additionally opened a Panerai boutique in Aspen a couple of years in the past. “Panerai requested me if we might be excited by taking on administration of their Aspen boutique,” he defined. “One journey was sufficient for me to understand the uncommon potential of this chance, and upstairs was a non-performing house that completely suited Oliver Smith Jewellery.” When questioned about watch traits, Smith provided this recommendation. “Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Richard Mille have all loved lengthy runs however I say, keep watch over Cartier. The Italians are carrying Cartier, and the Italians had been the primary to start out amassing Rolex Daytonas again within the 1980’s.”
In July 2020, Smith opened an Oliver Smith Jeweler boutique in Aspen, which options Oliver Smith designs and pre-owned, status watches. “The constructing is an historic, two-story brick constructing proper in downtown Aspen and the second ground is a non-public oasis for our shoppers that performs into the enjoyable of buying pre-owned timepieces,” he enthused. When requested about a number of the challenges that arose when Smith opened his newest boutique throughout the top of COVID, Smith answered with typical lighthearted humor. “You need to have seen the seems I obtained from my spouse!” he wrote. “However you must belief the market, and the resiliency of your clientele,” he suggested. “Our plans in all probability modified 10 occasions in 4 months main as much as the opening. We went forwards and backwards principally round how a lot cash we should always spend as a result of we had no concept what would occur with the pandemic. Fortunately,” he associated, “enterprise by no means slowed, which gave us the boldness to proceed shifting ahead.”
In keeping with Smith, “The perfect jewelers on the planet have a household legacy. My spouse Aimee and I’ve three youngsters. We all the time knew that we didn’t need them to hitch the enterprise till that they had spent 5 years working for another person.” Whereas he claimed that he by no means anticipated any of them to come back into the enterprise, two of them have accomplished so. “Our oldest daughter Elizabeth joined the agency 4 years in the past, and is doing a incredible job,” he enthused. “She started working in our Panerai Boutique in Aspen, then helped us open our second Aspen boutique, Oliver Smith Jeweler, in July 2020. Now Elizabeth oversees all of our advertising and marketing and promoting. She instructions a presence when she enters a room, which is an innate expertise you could’t train.”
Happily for the Smiths, their second daughter, Corinne, has a ardour for gems and gemology. “She simply completed her Graduate Gemologist diploma and helps me with the stock,” Smith associated. Their son Tripp, who additionally goes by Oliver Smith III, is just not within the household enterprise, however is saved on top of things on enterprise operations. “I’ve a household enterprise assembly about twice a yr to evaluation the workings of Oliver Smith Jeweler. I need everybody in my household to have the ability to learn a Revenue and Loss assertion with most comprehension,” he concluded. Feels like Oliver Smith Jeweler goes to be ticking alongside for one more 40 years of glowing success.