I moved to California in 1989. From the confidence instilled in me by my adoptive mother, I left my Midwestern home, drove for days, and arrived in Orange County, California. While unpacking my belongings into my new apartment, I saw a beautiful dark-skinned girl with long, dark hair. She said her name was Carmen and that she was from Guatemala. After some small talk, we made our first date. The next twenty years would tell a tale of adventure and romance.
After finding employment with a local jeweler, I saved my paychecks while secretly planning to open my own jewelry business. I voraciously studied diamonds and was awarded the title of gemologist from GIA. I dreamed of a store where patrons could own unique, quality jewelry at reasonable prices from a staff that was knowledgeable and passionate about diamonds. I soon fell in love with Carmen and asked her to be my partner in business. The economy was uncertain. There was no guarantee of success. In exchange for her help, I vowed to pay Carmen with diamonds.
In 1991, with little funds and inventory, Gallery of Diamonds was born in the city of Costa Mesa. Carmen and I married shortly afterward. Carmen studied jewelry designing and gemstone sorting. The small company began its search for vintage jewelry and began custom manufacturing. In 2007, the company outgrew its small boutique and expanded to the city of Newport Beach.
Today, Gallery of Diamonds recently celebrated its twentieth birthday. The company boasts over 30,000 customers. In honor of my adoptive mother and the birth mother I had never known, the company established the Why Mom Deserves a Diamond® contest, which has become the largest mothers appreciation contest in the nation.
Gallery of Diamonds is a true success story and continues to know each of its customers by name. The inventory has grown an extensive array of unusual jewelry from modern to antique, while becoming a leader in the diamond business.
Carmen and I are still partners and lovers. I continue to give Carmen diamonds.