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  Our History

Smith Jewelers was founded in 1974 by Richard and Ella Smith with their sons Larry and Curtis. Born and raised in Stockton CA, Richard had worked in the jewelry industry since he was in high school. He and his family moved to the beautiful San Ramon Valley of California in 1971 where the opportunity for him to be the manger of the Davidson and Licht jewelry store in nearby Walnut Creek CA. On October 23, 1974, Richard along with his wife Ella and son Larry realized his life long dream and opened his own Jewelry store in the Sycamore Square shopping center in Danville CA. In fact Smith Jewelers was the very first store to open the center beating Longs drugs, the grocer and all the other stores!

They enjoyed a successful first Christmas in what was at that time the largest shopping center in Danville. They were the only Jewelry store in both Danville and San Ramon (making them the most experienced jewelry store in continuous operation in either San Ramon or Danville today). In January of 1975 Larry attended the Graduate Gemologist in Residence program offered by the Gemological Institute of America in Southern California. After completing this program (the most extensive gemology program offered) Larry rejoined the firm and has been the companies Gemologist ever since.

Linda Obujen joined the firm in 1977 initially as a bookkeeper but today has become one the backbones of the business and has remained with us right up to the present.

1978 was a very important year for Smith’s with two big events: First was Curtis Smith joined the firm in 1978 after having completed one of the most extensive jewelry arts programs in the country at the Gem City College in Quincy Illinois. He completed the Jewelry manufacturing, repair course, and the hand engraving course. The second was the acceptance of the firm into the American Gem Society. The American Gem Society is the most prestigious organization in the jewelry industry. Only those stores who have proven themselves by adhering to a strict code of ethics and have the gemological and jewelry knowledge to back it up are even considered for membership. In 1979 the firm added another level of profession when its gemological department was approved as a Certified Gem Laboratory by the American Gem Society.

The following year Laurence achieved what was at the time the highest title the American Gem Society awarded, the Certified Gemologist title. Knowledge and experience are not enough to qualify a jeweler as a Certified Gemologist. He or she must also possess and exercise integrity and are carefully policed by Society officers. He subsequently achieved the new even higher title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser when it was available.

The early 1980’s was a very difficult time for the business. This saw the stores founder become ill with and pass away from cancer in October of 1981.The other members continued the tradition of small town personal customers service and the store was able to survive this devastating loss. In 1983 the business was able to expand, doubling the size of the store and building a state of the art jewelry repair shop visible to the public from both inside and outside the store. The greatly expanded store also allowed for the expansion of the amount, type and quality of merchandise it carried. The rest of the decade was good to the business seeing steady growth in sales and expansion of inventory

The early 1990’s brought new challenges to the jewelry store. First was the most severe recession in California since the Great Depression of the 1930’s and second was the fact that Laurence Smith was diagnosed with a rare and potentially very dangerous form of Lymphoma cancer. All the members to the firm pulled together during these tough times and not only did Laurence recover from the cancer but the store recovered from the recession making new heights in sales and the quality of merchandise carried. And now this leads us to the late 1990’s which saw the business take the most aggressive step in its history. This was the purchase of one of the last empty commercial lots in downtown Danville on Railroad Avenue and the building of a brand new free standing commercial building as a new home for the business. This difficult achievement was made possible by the underlying strength and quality of the business

2010 saw the addition of the third generation of Smiths with Larry's Son, Tyler Smith joining the firm after having receiving a diploma in Advanced Jewelry Arts from the California Institite of Jewelry Training and a Diamond Grading Laboratory Class Certificate from the Gemological Institute of America. Tyler is now here full time to serve you. He also invites you to visit our store and to to have a custom made item and to view his many custom made one of a kind and unique jewelry designs

2011 also saw changes with the retirement of Linda and Laura and the addition of Cam Reid to staff. Cam has had many years experience in customer service and looks forward to your net visit to Smith Jewelers

We invite you to visit our beautiful store located at 350 Railroad in the heart of downtown Danville. We are located directly across the street from the state of the art Multi-million dollar new Lunardi’s market. Laurence, Curtis, Tyler, Cam, and Kathy are all here with the same enthusiasm and pride as the founders of the business way back in the early 1970’s.

 



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