Our three-generation tradition began in Stamford in 1911- ninety-four years ago – where my grandfather, Gaza, a Hungarian immigrant, opened our door on Atlantic Street. Open seven days a week, for the first few years we did not have to lock the front door at night. But Stamford was poised for change. Still considered a small town back then, it was on the verge of becoming one of Connecticut's biggest commercial and industrial cities. My dad, David, just a boy then, and my grandfather kept smelling-salts on hand because young brides often fainted in the showroom when asked for their hand in marriage.

In the workshop Gaza soldered with a blowpipe- a thin curved, metal tube held next to a gas flame that relied on the force of his breath to raise the flame and allow the solder to flow.

My grandfather melted metal in crucibles, poured it into ingots and hand-rolled it out for his stock metal. He hand drilled his metal. Now we use electric rolling mills and drill with foot pedal controlled motors, and we order most metal in a variety of sizes from a high-quality refiner in Virginia. Our torch handles mix oxygen and propane from tanks with the ease of thumbing a dial. Bath then my grandfather had to be a jack-of-all-trades. He was a bench jeweler, a stone setter, a hand engraver and a watchmaker, a hard-working businessman and a respectable member of the small town Stamford community.

Stamford's biggest industry at the time was Yale and Towne, a local lock manufacturing company. If they were busy and its 6,500 employees prospered, all of the retailers in Stamford thrived. And when they slowed down, we all tightened our belts. Like most retailers at the time, we offered in-house charges to all customers. Back then credit was based on a handshake. With the advent of the credit card, our customers now earn bonus points and airline miles.

My Dad grew the shop for fifty years, down to six days a week. His line had to include watches, clocks, crystal, china, hollowware, flatware, and lighters. Not only did he know most customers by name, he had the maiden name and half of the siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles memorized as well. They were our customers too.

The mall, built forty feet about our old shop on "Atlantic Square" and designed to turn it's back on the downtown, forced me to move to the Bull's Head Shopping Center in 1990. We analyzed our business model and discovered that watches, china and giftware took up over half of our time but nly amounted to one half of one percent of our gross volume. So we decided to focus on what we do best—design and handcraft the finest jewelry. We built a team of artists including a world class young designer and two bench jewelers each with over forty years of experience. We have survived by creating a niche.

We still rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and tiny ads in The Advocate with many third and fourth generation customers, but also now including a national clientele thanks to trade press from our design and competition success.

Many of our customers are young professionals from the surrounding corporations. It is a pleasure to work with these people because they have refined tastes and are highly educated.

We overnight full color renderings to customers overseas and most pay by credit card, but we are still piercing, filing, and soldering gold and platinum and stetting precious stones in a way very similar way to the way Gaza worked in 1911.