CHAIN ISSUES

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

It is an everyday occurrence. The door opens at 9AM and a customer brings in a chain to us either broken, or stretched and not safe to wear. Sometimes it can be repaired. Many times replacing is the only option.

Most have a sentimental pendant dangling from the center that they have not have not had off their person for years. Even though I have never recommended sleeping or showering in any jewelry, it is a common practice by many. Our backlog of repairs is evidence of this!

A few manufacturers will warrant chains by either repairing or replacing. Some customers are unaware that everyday wear and tear can stretch a chain sometimes one to even three inches from its original length!! White and yellow karat gold chains are typically soldered links. But sliding back and forth hundreds of times each day can cause wear on the soldered links. Silver chains are even more susceptible to stretching and eventually breaking.

No style of chain is exempt from wear, although some styles do wear better. Lightweight chains have a tendency to be more prone to a short life, while heavier ones do last longer. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link!

The weight of the pendant is partially to blame. A tug by a child can be another reason for the increase in length. “Fidgeting” with the pendant can also lengthen a chain. Gold is malleable. A quick pull can break some chains but over time each link elongates and will simply weaken the entire chain. Then the chain breaks and the pendant can be lost. It is recommended that prongs on rings be checked every six months yet few people have their chains and pendant bails checked. Note: The bail is the top portion of the pendant where the chain travels through it. It, too, can be repaired if wearing thin!

Stop in today and have your chains cleaned and inspected for weakness. Chain bracelets are also included in this check-up. This is another complimentary service provided by Eichhorn Jewelry. If your chain is in need of repair we can estimate the cost or provide a replacement chain with a trade-in allowance for your worn or damaged chain.

NEW YEAR 2016 RESOLUTIONS

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

After 50+ years in the jewelry business, I thought it was time to help create some New Year resolutions for our customers. Every year we hear many customers tell us on the street, at an event or even in a phone call that they have been ‘thinking’ about remounting a diamond, restoring a favorite heirloom, or purchasing the one carat diamond of their dreams. Some do follow through and stop in at Eichhorn Jewelry. But more often than not we just hear the ‘considering’ stories. We are all procrastinators at some level. But when one of my customers last year finally made the decision to buy the two carat diamond she wanted for more than ten years she announced, “Eileen, I wish you would have made me buy it when I first started looking.” In her case, she would have saved a bundle. Others have found jewelry or watch repairs that they thought would be expensive are very reasonable once given an estimate.

My father always said, “It’s later than you think.” Truer words were never spoken. Why not today? Make today special and act on your dreams. You may have old gold or diamonds to trade-in to help offset the cost? Clean out your drawers. Jewelry that you are not wearing may be more valuable than you ever imagined. This is the year to get it done! This is the year you have been waiting for! This is the year to check off your list the jewelry project(s) you have put off. Treat yourself in the New Year!

A ring you loved for many years may be able to be restored or restyled. Pearls that have lost their style may be cleaned and restrung with fashionable silver beads or chain extenders to combine sentiment and newness. Most clip earrings can be converted to pierced styles. That brooch you inherited from your great aunt that you would never wear can be converted to a fashionable slide-pendant-enhancer. Even some rings can be transformed into a pendant. Bring in your ideas or leave the options to us. You will be surprised how affordable and FUN some of these projects can be for both of us! We have many before/after photos that will spark your imagination.

Pass it on! There is no time like the present to get started on your jewelry bucket list. We are here, ready and waiting at Eichhorn Jewelry. No job is too large or too small for consideration. No appointment needed but recommended. Call us today. 260-724-2621.

 

Remembering Beginnings: Eileen Eichhorn

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

I started in the jewelry business on August 5, 1965 – shortly before the age of 14 working in my father’s store: Eichhorn Jewelry. However, my real adventure into the world of gems was the day I found myself in need of employment to pay out-of-state tuition to the University of Minnesota. Having a scholarship ‘discounted’ during the days of retrenchment was something I had never considered. It is an amazing thing to discover what one is capable of doing when faced with such a dilemma. I could have returned to Indiana to IU but my decision to get a job at the prestigious J.B. Hudson Jewelers AND go to college in a major metro city was my real education. Looking older than 19 when I applied for a job in sales, I was informed no one at that time would be hired that young. However, I had 5 years’ experience in every aspect of retail jewelry…Call my father. He will tell you I need this job!

I was hired and worked there throughout my college days.

I very recently returned to Minneapolis to visit my former co-worker/boss, Florence Benson. Now 95, she is even more of an inspiration to me than when we worked together. In addition to reminiscing about the glory days of the iconic landmark business, we spoke of her influence and dedication. She always said she was thrilled to have a job! She began working in gift wrap at JBH the age of 20 and worked for 20 years without a vacation. Climbing the corporate ladder and advancing to the position of buyer for a major player in the jewelry industry was something she never envisioned. She worked for 57 and one half years for the company and would have continued if her eyes would have cooperated!

Florence instilled in me a passion for quality, perfection and presentation. Most of all she loved her customers. She was self-educated in all aspects of the jewelry world. Having realized early in life that knowledge was power she remains healthy and active these days testing herself with only one major ‘project’ each day. Her memory is her greatest asset and stays informed on so many levels that she nearly runs circles around me. She encouraged me to challenge myself more and continue learning as much as I can because according to her, “I have a long way to go to catch up to her.”

Boss

OFFICINA BERNARDI: AFFORDABLE, BEAUTIFUL ITALIAN SILVER JEWELRY    

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our vendors each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

A few years ago while in Chicago, a friend of mine suggested we look at an Italian jewelry vendor’s line that had an innovative design. That recommendation was the best tip I think I ever received from another jeweler as it fast became our most popular and recognizable merchandise.

The Italians are artisans in many areas but shine best in their jewelry. The brothers Carlo and Francesco have an assortment of necklaces, both hoop and drop style earrings, bracelets and rings that rival many more expensive designer looks. Having started in chain manufacturing in 1987, it was inevitable that beads would enter this collaborative duos design plan.

Their Moon collection was originally manufactured in gold, for a very discerning audience. In 2008 it was introduced in silver with great success. Available in 800 upscale shops in the USA, including Eichhorn Jewelry, it is also available in Italy, Spain, Mauritius, and Brazil.

The Moon name comes from the shape of the bead facet, the compositional unit of Bernardi jewelry. Associated with the crescent Moon and the white-silver dress worn by Selene, the ancient Greek Moon Goddess, Bernardi jewelry glitters. The idea was to manufacture an effect with the same brightness and light. High technology and jewelry know-how became one producing this beautiful jewelry. Special diamond-cutting tools are the secret-formula to their inspired designs.

Other special techniques detailed with gold plating over silver, blackened silver and the newest: rose gold plating over silver continue to attract buyers. You can’t help but love the “bling” as well as the compliments everyone says they receive while wearing Bernardi!

Priced from $45 and up, this affordable luxury is highly addictive. You will want to build on your private collection of Bernardi jewelry with mix or matching pieces!

Mary Ann August – Behind the Scenes

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our employees each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Every business has people who contribute to its success that few seldom see. In the theatre sometimes those behind the scenes, never receive the accolades they deserve.

Mary Ann August started working at Eichhorn Jewelry after having been a longtime customer. One day while she was paying on her Diamond Club, she asked if I needed help typing appraisals maybe a few hours each week. Of course, I jumped at the chance. She has been working part-time at Eichhorn’s now for over 25 years! However, she hasn’t typed appraisals for decades having been relegated to inventory data entry.

When items arrive from vendors each have descriptions that may not be listed on the invoices. Her job is to enter those items on the computer with specifications and photograph each piece. Her entries are tied to our POS system. This allows our customers to have accurate details on their sales receipts. Some items arrive with limited descriptions. Our sales receipts have enough information to submit to an insurance company if a customer wishes to add to their insurance policy. Some highly complex important jewelry such as bracelets with multiple gemstones and diamonds require gemologist assistance and mapping of the piece before entering. Recently a bracelet with 692 diamonds had to be counted and recounted before entering it into the database. It took a joint effort of both of us about forty-five minutes to complete.

Mary Ann has a full time job working dispatch for Adams County. Her dedication and ability to multi-task is unsurpassed in that career. We are thrilled she continues to maintain her part-time job at Eichhorn’s. The real bonus – she gets to preview all the beautiful jewelry arriving daily!

Trivia:  During our busiest of seasons, she pinch-hits at giftwrap, too. I think Mary Ann is the best gift wrap artist I have ever employed!

MANY THANKS!

By Eileen R Eichhorn

A wonderful thing happened recently at Eichhorn Jewelry. On the day of our 50th Anniversary in business, August 5, 2015 over 500+ friends, family, customers, and former employees, showed up to with well-wishes for our milestone event. Even one of our bench jewelers attended to surprise us as did one of our vendor representatives!

Eichhorn Jewelry Team

Sally, Laura, Heather, Eileen, Kate, Matt, Carla and Kathy

We had prayed for good weather and the Lord provided. You have to be careful what you pray for, however. What we didn’t plan on was the traffic jam in Downtown Decatur! We considered valet parking. We should have had it since some people are still coming in nearly a month later telling us they circled the block three times and couldn’t find a parking place. But, our wonderful customers continue to visit us.

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The store from the late 60’s

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Gemstone Surprise Packages

We have really been celebrating our anniversary the entire year since it is such a monumental occasion. It is amazing what a little advertising can do for a big jewelry store in a little town! Thanks to Heather Cruse, our marketing director, without whom we would never have been able to embrace social media.  A huge round of applause, too, goes to Bob Shraluka who wrote the story for the Decatur Daily Democrat. Making the front page was unexpected and very much appreciated. The back page photo with the Eichhorn Junior League Softball Team winning the championship was a bonus! John Eichhorn would be very proud.

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It was SO much fun! All of us were dressed in the attire of 1965. The windows and showcases were decked out in 50 champagne flutes with shredded gold metallic sparkle everywhere! Gold helium balloons added to the decorations. Our original store photo remains on display. One of our first employees, Peggy Lengerich visited the store that day and was photographed with a gold Swarovski tiara and gold plated rose.

Peg Lengerich

Peg Lengerich

Our 1965 Christmas Catalog was displayed with similar items we STILL sell today – the classics. Longtime customers gave us a special treat wearing the jewels they purchased from us over the years reminiscing how and why they acquired them. We were honored by those stories. My husband of nearly 35 years, John Hebein sang the songs of Frank Sinatra to entertain us all day. How can I ever thank him enough?

John Hebein singing Frank Sinatra for us all day.

John Hebein singing Frank Sinatra for us all day.

Everyone enjoyed ALL the day’s festivities. $50 cash was awarded to Jackie Conrad who presented the oldest sales receipt – 1977 for a watch she purchased with her Diamond Club Winnings. We also gave away free nephrite jade gemstones to everyone who stopped in that day. We offered $5 surprise packages with gemstones valued up to $500. Those sold out in less than two hours! In addition, we gave away 50 – $50 gift certificates and 50 champagne diamonds.

Eileen Eichhorn and Jackie Conrad

Eileen Eichhorn and Jackie Conrad

Jennifer Mitchel winner of the $500 gemstone at Eichhorn Jewelry

Jennifer Mitchel winner of the $500 gemstone at Eichhorn Jewelry

The entire staff was amazing! Their smiles were worth a million dollars. Thank you: Kate Dyer, Matt Dyer, Laura Ditto, Heather Cruse, Carla Meyer, Sally Hoeppner, and Kathy Jenkins. Even the most recently retired staff, Charlotte Sheets stopped in that day along with our pearl stringer, Kim Simon. Mary Ann August our inventory control specialist stopped by, too. Chuck Eichhorn, our subcontractor-bench jeweler, was on hand for the festivities. Flora Walters GG, who has assisted me for many years with appraisals, drove up from Indianapolis for the day. One of our best customers even had lunch delivered for us. Some of us did not get to eat because we were so busy! Photos are the best evidence of the highlights of the day thanks to my brother-in-law, Ed Dyer.

Charlotte, Kim & Laura during our 50th Anniversary Celebration at Eichhorn Jewelry

Charlotte, Kim & Laura during our 50th Anniversary Celebration at Eichhorn Jewelry

I would like to personally thank everyone for their support over the years. If you were not able to attend that day, you were with us in spirit as you may have sent a note, text or email with your kind words. Eichhorn Jewelry, Inc. hopes to continue adding new customers daily for another 50 years. With your referrals we can make it happen!

-Eileen Eichhorn

J.P. Knight Company – Since 1912

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our vendors each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

J.P. Knight Company is one of our favorite suppliers! Founded in Cincinnati Ohio by John Paul Knight over one hundred years ago, they made their mark in the jewelry industry through diamond cutting and polishing.

Eichhorn Jewelry selected them many years ago to provide fine quality jewelry and gems that our customers have grown to appreciate. Their superb craftsmanship allows us to rely on them for some our most important custom work. They have the ability to modify many of their designs to accommodate a variety of sizes of gemstones by either hand carving a wax or computer aided design.  All of their designs bear the registered trademark of this AGS (American Gem Society) supplier.

One of the most difficult things in the jewelry business is matching diamonds for earrings and inline-tennis bracelets. J.P. Knight Company is an expert in this field. Dozens of diamonds are pre-selected with the final choices picked for cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Most people do not know how rare it is to accomplish this feat.

I personally meet with the grandson of the founder on a regular basis to select diamonds for both our inventory and the growing number of replacement diamonds for customer repairs. Not one month goes by without a call or email for this demand. The Knight family visits New York City meeting with other importers each year. Sometimes, I give them an unusual request. Their contacts helped me find a large kite cut diamond some years ago.

This special relationship with the Knight “boys” has the benefit of the same trust our customers have grown to expect from us. We respect their judgment when it comes to selection since they are as particular when it comes to grading diamonds and gemstones of color as we are!

Graduate Gemologist:   Matthew J. Dyer – GG (GIA)

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our employees each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

At the young age of 14, Matt Dyer, had laid out his goal in life. The jewelry industry would be his career. Having been greatly influenced by his grandfather, John Eichhorn, Matt was often at Eichhorn Jewelry from the time of his birth. His mother, my sister, Kate was always having him stop by the jewelry store where she worked on his way home from school, after baseball practice, and even Saturdays while he was growing up. Some would say he was destined to be in the jewelry industry!

After high school, Matt headed off to Carlsbad California to the prestigious Gemological Institute of America. Bound and determined to complete his GG, he elected to return to Decatur Indiana and work in his family’s jewelry store. GIA is THE training authority in the American jewelry industry. To earn a Graduate Gemologist diploma, you must complete and pass five course studies and three lab classes, then pass a comprehensive final exam: Diamond Essentials, Diamonds & Diamond Grading, Colored Stone Essentials, Colored Stones, Gem Identification, Diamond Grading Lab, Colored Stone Grading Lab and Gem Identification Lab.

Within these studies Matt developed hands-on experience with the GIA International Diamond Grading System™ and the 4C’s (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight) and how they affect diamond value. He became proficient in the use of gemological equipment and procedures to identify and grade hundreds of gemstones. He learned to identify gemstone characteristics, simulants, and treatments and anticipate when advanced testing is required.

Eichhorn Jewelry is extremely proud to employ Matt Dyer with such a deep commitment to the family business. His continued dedication to Decatur and the surrounding area will help us remain firmly planted in this great Indiana community.

Trivia: Did you know one of the many scholarships Matt received to attend GIA was from Swarovski, the famous luxury cut glass producer?!

EICHHORN – of San Jose California

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our vendors each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

One of our suppliers shares our same surname! Some years ago while visiting a trade show people kept coming up to us and saying “YOU are the Eichhorns!” Since we had badges on with our names we thought it odd for the outburst, maybe a prank or perhaps they thought they knew us? This seemed strange enough because we did not know what EICHHORN they were referring to. We had to find out just who these people thought we were.

In the discovery process, we found a couple who really know gems! Originally dealing exclusively in loose emeralds, sapphires and rubies, Eichhorn of San Jose added a new dimension by designing and manufacturing an extensive line of classic and contemporary jewelry featuring exquisite gemstones.

Importing from the mines and dealers in Colombia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, each gem is hand selected for its uniqueness and beauty by Dottie and Michael Eichhorn. Their dedication and attention to detail is their trademark. For over 20 years, Eichhorn Jewelry in Downtown Decatur has been dealing with Eichhorn of San Jose building a special relationship that continues today.

Trivia: Matt Dyer proposed to Abigail Murray in 2002 with a platinum diamond engagement ring mounting supplied by Eichhorn of San Jose!

HELPFUL: HEATHER (EICHHORN) CRUSE

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our employees each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

When Eichhorn Jewelry started to expand exponentially on the web in 2006, it became apparent that an in house marketing director was needed to keep up with the constant increase in business. At that time Heather was working for another company in her field of expertise: business marketing. It was a stroke of luck that she considered a career move when asked to join the Eichhorn family jewelry business.

Most people would not believe all she does to promote Eichhorn Jewelry! Although, Eichhorn’s had a presence on the web since 1998, the website needed a boost. Her first job was to learn more about the jewelry business.  She was great at learning and is always willing to learn more about jewelry! Initially, Heather self-taught herself web building and most of what she continues to do today. Not even she would have guessed how the internet would evolve in such a relatively short time and catapult Eichhorn’s business.

In addition to posting new acquisitions of estate jewelry on the website, Heather is constantly updating our many vendors information. Her job entails answering a multitude of requests for gift certificates as we support many charitable causes each year.

Traditional marketing is still utilized by Eichhorn’s as Heather designs ads for area newspapers and magazines, creates direct mail pieces and purchases radio time.

With the advent of social media, Heather is busier than ever! It is an important part of our daily marketing. She still finds time to pinch hit on the sales floor, too, during the busiest of times and processes many of the internet orders she helped create!

TRIVIA:  Heather sends emails to nearly 4,000 of our customers several times a year. Let us know if you would like to be notified for upcoming special promotions and events: heathercruse@eichhornjewelry.com

Heather Cruse of Decatur Indiana Eichhorn Jewelry

Heather Cruse of Decatur Indiana Eichhorn Jewelry