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Small Business Q&A: David Douglas Diamonds & Jewelry

Diamonds, custom designed rings and more are sold at this full-service jeweler on Sandy Plains Road.

'Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la love grinning at the sparkles of a big, fat diamond. All year is diamond season but the fourth quarter is traditionally strong in sales around the world due to festivals that include Diwali, Golden ‎Week and Christmas, according to a Rapaport Magazine article citing diamond miner DeBeers' chief executive Philippe Mellier.

Rapaport is a multinational group, with over 13,000 clients in 95 countries, that provides services supporting the development of free, fair, efficient, competitive, and profitable diamond and jewelry markets.

David Douglas Diamonds sales manager Jen Foster says that “All of our vendors sign an ethics agreement on how the diamonds and other gems and metals are sourced.”

Doug Meadows, David Douglas Diamonds co-founder and owner, buys diamonds in Antwerp, Belgium, as part of an independent jewelers’ buying group, according to Foster. She also notes that the group enables a single store retailer to buy at competitive prices.

“We offer premium quality jewelry and service, and we don’t work on commission,” Foster says, “our prices range from a $30,000 diamond engagement ring to $25 sterling silver jewelry.”

Custom rings are also available. State-of-the-art Computer Aided Design uses your input to create a 3-D rendering of a ring, then a 3-D wax "print" of the unique piece is made that will become the mold used to cast a selected metal.

Foster says that David Douglas has between 15 and 20 custom projects going at any time. The average turn-around is four weeks and an example of cost is a ring project that the customer is providing all the metal and gems with labor and design cost of $750.

The store celebrated a recent doubling of space from 1,400 to 2,800 square feet. There are eight full-time and two part-time employees; all have earned Gemology Institute of America diamond certificates.

David Douglas sales have grown 20–30 percent annually since opening in 2004, according to Foster, who also buys jewelry for the store.

Q. What's the best thing about your job?

A. Purchasing jewelry, traveling to different jewelry shows. I like that happy spark when I see a piece of jewelry that I know will find a good home, because I know my customers.

Q. What is the best thing about East Cobb?

A. It’s home. I’m a class of ’97 Lassiter grad. When my husband and I were thinking about where we wanted to live, we were in Florida at the time; we decided that we wanted to be here. All of our friends and most of our family are here and it’s a great community.

I have great memories growing up here and want my future children to have a good beginning.

Q. Why did you choose to open your business in East Cobb?

A. Owner Doug Meadows lives across the street and I have a two and-a-half mile commute. We did look at a number of other possibilities when we moved from the Big Lots plaza three years ago. When Doug saw that this space was available, it made sense to be in a plaza that he’s shopped at since Publix opened.

Q. Why did you pick this kind of business?

A. My background is in retail, and I met with Doug as a favor for my father-in-law who has been friends with Doug through church for twenty years. I went into the meeting without much expectation and came out excited about Doug’s vision and business plans. Ready to start work.

Looking back into my childhood, I’ve had an interest in gems since my early tumbled rock collection.

Q. What are some of the services you offer that people may not know about?

A. We’re a full-service jeweler. We do on-site repairs; we work on jewelry and watches purchased from anywhere. Repairs are typically one week, but, we also offer same day or express service at an extra charge.

We perform appraisals.  

We purchase gold and offer great prices. We can do that because we have other means of revenue. When we buy gold, we pay cash or pay more as a store credit.

Today, gold sells at $1,700 an ounce of 24 karat gold which is 100% gold. The metal is very soft. It’s rare that pure gold is used to make jewelry because pure gold breaks easy.

Q. When did you start your business?

A. David Douglas started in 2004. Doug’s grandfather had a jewelry store in 1926, in Michigan. Doug has been around or involved in the jewelry business all his life.

He opened his first store in 1981, Pure Gold Jewelry, near Cumberland Mall. Right before opening David Douglas, Doug contracted the repair department for Kaminski's Jewelry for 17 years.

Q. How did your business get started?

A. When Doug went out on his own; he put together a store on a short turn-around. It was a matter of working with what you’ve got. We were at space in the Big Lots plaza and did what we could to offer great service and jewelry.

We started with a number of prototypes of rings. The prototypes stay in store and a new ring is ordered for the customer. It helps get a wider variety of jewelry to display.

Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?

A. Try to partner with the community in as many ways as you can. We partner with area schools.

Our Dazzling Diamonds for Mom elementary school essay contest will award prizes for the 10th annual event Mother’s Day 2013.

Q. Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?

A. What sets us apart from other types of jewelry stores is that we really care about what we do. Regardless of how much a person is spending, buying a watch battery or a diamond, we treat each customer like a friend.

Some of our customers come in here and just want to talk. (Smile.) People enjoy connecting.

Jen Foster, sales manager/buyer

David Douglas Diamonds & Jewelry

3605 Sandy Plains Road, Suite 260, by Publix

770-578-0598

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