Updated: Nov 27, 2019
Previous to marketing consulting I owned a fine jewelry business in New York City. During my very first trade show I was fortunate enough to meet David Shaw of Shaw Diamonds and Design. He took a gamble on a new independent designer and decided to place an order with my company. He also flew me out to Dallas, Texas for his annual holiday trunk show. Since that time, we’ve stayed in touch. He’s witnessed my evolution as I decided to say goodbye to my creative pursuits and the New York City grind. I moved across the country to Boulder, Colorado in 2016 and I’ve never been happier. I was sad to move away from the world’s jewelry epicenter, but I found new purpose when I could offer my digital marketing expertise gleaned from ten years in a very competitive industry, to those in my trade. It’s been powerful to watch our business relationship morph into what it is today. I consider David to be a friend as well as a client. I wish he and his family lived closer so I could occasionally kidnap his adorable son Benjamin, the star of his monthly newsletters, for some adventures.
You’ve been designing custom engagement rings for over 16 years. How did you get into this business?
After receiving my BBA in college, I entered the technology industry, conducting software sales and consulting. Occasionally I would assist a friend at his jewelry store on Saturdays when the help was needed. It differed vastly to my day job and I found I really appreciated the one-on-one interaction with the clients. As a tech wiz I often didn’t get to interface with the end user. I really enjoyed the connections I made and felt the work had a much larger purpose. It was powerful to be apart of such an important time in someone’s life: either getting engaged or getting married.
A 12-year-old’s rendition of love
Perhaps jewelry has always been a calling. I remember as a young child I purchased an awful looking cubic zirconia cluster ring from the mall kiosk for my mother as a Christmas gift. I selected the ring that had most stones (and most sparkle) for about $20. My mother was quite amused, and bless her, would occasionally wear it, even though it was pretty darn ugly. Today, it reminds me of a quote from the movie Sabrina, “Sometimes more isn’t better. Sometimes more is just more.” I think of this quote quite often when sitting down with people to create new designs. My design aesthetic has changed greatly…and I think it moved in the right direction!
What sets you apart from any other fine jewelry store in Dallas?
Well for starters I don’t own a retail store. Instead I have an office with a small showroom, creating a much more personal feel. I’m “by appointment only.” I feel that designing an engagement ring or wedding band needs personal time and attention. I never want my clients to feel rushed and more importantly I want then to feel special. All of my designs are custom created, specific to that individual, based completely on their preferences and budget.
What inspires your designs?
My inspiration comes from classic, clean designs. It’s important to me that each design feel timeless, as we know fine jewelry is passed down generations. Simple styles seem to have so much staying power and beauty.
Do you have a favorite project?
I recently created an engagement ring for a client using his mother’s marquise-shaped diamond. Sadly, his mother had passed away and incorporating her diamond into his future wife’s ring was extremely meaningful to him. We decided to cut the marquise-shaped stone into two smaller matching pear-shaped diamonds, which were set on either side of a larger oval. This is a great example of why I love my job. I get to capture family heritage and rich memories into tangible designs. Fine jewelry is a reflection of powerful moments in people’s lives and I’m lucky to be a part of the process.
You seem to treat your clients like family. Could you tell us a bit more about yours?
I’m extremely lucky. My amazing wife Karyn and I have been married for eight years, and we have an energetic 4-year-old son, Ben. We’re also very fortunate to have supportive parents close by. I remember as a young college student, my family sat me down for an important pre-graduation chat. I was told I should strive to keep these three things in order: my faith in God, my family, and my career. To this day, this gives me great direction and strength.
What is your favorite gemstone to work with? Why?
I’ve always been a huge fan of tanzanite. I find the stunning rich, violet-blue is simply mesmerizing. I was lucky to once work with a tanzanite that was near perfection. Perfectly proportioned, brilliant in color and sparkle for days, I set it in platinum between two trillion-cut diamonds. To this day, I still think of that gemstone. It was what we call in Texas a ‘four-table ring’. You could see it from four tables over! Ha!
What is the definition of ‘upcycling’? Why do you think this has become a trend in the fine jewelry industry?
I’m excited to see ‘upcycling’ as a recent trend in my industry. It’s something that has long existed but is gaining popularity as our earth’s offers limited resources. I love taking client’s existing jewelry and creating something new that they’d once again like to wear. So many people have old jewelry sitting in a drawer that was either given to them in their youth or passed down to them from a special family member. Perhaps it’s not their style, but it has a special place in their heart as it reminds them of their loved ones or a special moment in time. It’s powerful to take that object and transform it, using the existing stones and metal, into something they’ll actually wear each day. It often brings tears to their eyes and hard not to tear up a bit myself. My company mission of “Your Story. Set in Stone” is a direct reflection of these occasions.
What are your care and service suggestions for someone who has a fine jewelry collection?
Fine jewelry can last for centuries, if not thousands of years. Just take a peek at some Egyptian jewelry next time you are in a museum! However, it’s always a good idea to create some best practices around care to ensure no stones fall out and you can keep that particular piece in great shape over time. I suggest getting a check-up once a year with your jeweler. I check the prongs and provide a thorough cleaning. For daily wear it’s advisable to not shower with your jewelry on or sleep while wearing it. Both of these actions can damage or dirty the piece, but more important could damage you! You don’t want to accidentally cut off circulation while sleeping. Much higher risk for children, but adults run the risk as well!
What has been your favorite part of working with me? Your least favorite part?
I’ve really enjoyed clarifying the vision I’d like for my business, and then being held accountable to that vision. Having weekly coaching has also been so helpful in keeping me focused on the big picture. As a business owner, change and re-direction is difficult during the voyage. I equate it to the Titanic towards an iceberg, but with the right direction, it can be avoided. My least favorite part? Having an accountability partner. LOL.
Would you recommend Bubblegum and Duct Tape to another business? Why or why not?
Most definitely. All businesses need constant re-evaluation. Whether it’s weekly, monthly or yearly; it’s healthy to have a conversation as to what’s currently working and what needs improvement. It’s helpful to have Jackie’s perspective as she works with many different companies and industries. She offers insights as to where others have found success and how. Communication is one of the most (and unfortunately neglected) aspects in business and life. Having a trusted partner like Bubblegum and Duct Tape is a must for growth and success.
You can find David Shaw on his website. He’ll be taking custom fine jewelry orders until approximately the 2nd week of December in time for the holidays.