Neighborhood Jeweler Celebrates 60 Years of Making Life Sparkle.
Family-owned and operated, Dickinson Jewelers was founded in 1957 by Claude Dickinson, Jr., a watchmaker by trade. Once a small one-man show repairing watches and selling a very limited selection of jewelry, Mr. Dickinson now works alongside his son, Claude Dickinson III, President of Dickinson Jewelers, and Claude’s wife Kathy, Sales and Marketing Director.
It’s been almost 30 years since Kathy joined the business, originally hired to help out during the Christmas season. She and Claude attended junior high and high school together and were engaged to be married. Not loving her commute to Washington, DC, she agreed to work for the month of December, with the understanding that she could go on interviews after the season was over to find a new job. “I never looked for a different job. I love the jewelry business and enjoy working in a family business. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing,” says Kathy. She gives her father-in-law a lot of credit for allowing her and Claude to try new things and to introduce new designer collections once they joined the business. “Working in a family business can be challenging, but he has always been very open-minded and given us the opportunity to help grow the business. Claude and I consider it a privilege to be able to work with him every day.”
The Dickinsons believe it’s important to give back to the community where they live, and were honored by the Calvert County Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year in 2009. “We work and live in Southern Maryland and we recognize the importance we all play in making our community the best it can be,” explains
Kathy. She spends time volunteering at Calvert Memorial Hospital by serving on the Harvest Ball Committee. She also spent eight years on its foundation board, serving as its president before her term ended. Claude has been a member of Rotary for more than 20 years, and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Calvert Marine Museum. Dickinson Jewelers also partners with many local non-profits organizations and area schools, donating to fundraisers as often as they can.
Kathy is quick to point out that all of their staff, not just the owners, play a big role in making Dickinson Jewelers so special as compared to many mainstream jewelry companies. “Our staff becomes a part of our family and cares deeply about our business and our customers.
They often attend parties and celebrations they’ve been invited to by customers because they develop very special and meaningful relationships with them. They truly care about everyone that comes in the door,” she says, adding that it’s not uncommon to see staff pop in on their day off because a customer needs something.
WORLD-RENOWNED JEWELRY COLLECTIONS
They may be the neighborhood jeweler, but Dickinson Jewelers travels the world looking for the latest trends in jewelry fashion and the world’s most beautiful diamonds to bring home to the Southern Maryland community. “One thing we always hear from our customers is that they love that the jewelry we carry isn’t the same jewelry you see at other stores– it’s fresh and different,” Kathy says. “If we don’t feel good about the brand or the designer, we don’t carry the line. We also make sure we have a wide range of prices for customers to shop. Whether someone needs a quick gift for $20 or is looking for something extraordinary like one of Claude’s rare exotic color gems set into a custom designed setting for $20,000, we want to have something that speaks to each person who stops in our stores.”
Staff favorites include LeVian Chocolate Diamonds, Dickinson’s “Celebrate Life by the Water” nautical collection featuring exclusive crab jewelry designs by Claude, the antique and estate collection, and of course: The Kathryn Diamond, a signature diamond available exclusively at Dickinson Jewelers. Each Kathryn Diamond is cut with a stunning 89 facets, 31 more than a traditional cut diamond, for exceedingly better light performance. Its brilliance and sparkle are so intense that its superior beauty is easily visible to the untrained eye. Perfectly hand-polished, each Kathryn Diamond requires three times longer than a traditional round diamond to cut and polish. Claude named this beautiful diamond after Kathy and has created a classic collection of Kathryn Diamond jewelry too. All of their collections can be seen on their interactive website, www.dickinsonjewelers.com.
HELPING TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE
Whether you visit one of their stores, or visit their website, you can create your own “wish list” and add your favorite jewelry to it. Some women are surprised how effective putting jewelry on a wish list can be. When significant others are shopping for a gift and you have a wish list, Kathy says the likelihood of receiving the perfect gift is essentially a done deal. “There are mornings when I check my email and will see that a customer has added 6-8 items to her wish list through our website the night before. This woman knows that her husband will be stopping in for her birthday gift and she wants to make sure her wish list is up to date. I always suggest adding a ‘stretch’ item because you just never know. One Christmas, a woman, as a joke, added a stunning black and white diamond ring to her list, commenting that he’d never buy her something that nice. Sure enough, her husband did buy it! He was so relieved to know she’d love it, he was happy to splurge on her,” adds Kathy.
EVENTS, EVENTS AND MORE EVENTS!
Dickinson Jewelers is also known for their fun special events held throughout the year. Anytime they have the opportunity to host a special collection of gems or jewelry or to invite a designer to visit the store, it probably means it’s time for a party! Some of their special events include a Color Gem Exhibit and Sale, an Annual Antique and Estate Jewelry Event, an Annual Holiday Open House and a Vahan Trunk Show. During trunk shows, designers will bring their full lines of jewelry into the store, giving customers the opportunity to try on pieces they may not have seen before. Many of these events include gourmet treats and door prizes for added fun. Kathy says they offer afterhours “salon talks” on occasion, allowing customers the opportunity to learn about different jewelry-related topics like antique and estate jewelry, or the fascinating world of color gems.
DESIGN YOUR PERFECT PIECE OF JEWELRY
Dickinson Jewelers has an amazing custom design program that allows the customer to be directly involved in the jewelry creation process. In fact, their designers are able to generate a conceptual design right in front of them and then make immediate changes based on client feedback.
Customers begin by selecting a starting point design from thousands of options. Working alongside a Dickinson Jewelers designer, they use cutting-edge 3D design software to customize every detail of the jewelry from stone size, shape and color to extensive design changes. “Designing a custom engagement ring is very popular. It’s such an important ring and for it to be so uniquely special means a lot when a bride-to-be receives it,” says Kathy. “We also help customers recycle old jewelry that they no longer wear. We have the ability to take a customer’s gems, diamonds and precious metal, and repurpose them into something completely new. It’s amazing to see the transformation of these pieces.”
FULL SERVICE JEWELRY AND WATCH REPAIR
Dickinson Jewelers has three jewelers and a watchmaker on staff. Using the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment, they provide the highest level of service to their customers, including express same-day service, on many types of repairs. “Not everyone realizes that jewelry requires maintenance just like a car,” says Kathy. “Our team is trained to look for any potential issues a customer’s piece of jewelry might have, no matter why they bring it in. If someone brings in grandma’s ring they’ve inherited to be sized so they can wear it, we’re also going to inspect the ring to make sure it’s in good condition and will hold up to everyday wear. You’d be surprised how often prongs that are holding in grandma’s diamonds are worn or missing. It’s our job to notice. Imagine how upset you would be if you got the ring sized and then wore it for a week or a month, only to have diamonds fall out!”
Professional watch battery and watchband replacement, vintage watch repair and general watch repairs, including service for high-end watches like Rolex, are handled through Dickinson Jewelers watch repair department.
APPRAISALS AND INSURANCE REPLACEMENTS
Dickinson Jewelers works with insurance companies to help customers replace lost
or stolen items. There’s often special paperwork or procedures to follow so they have dedicated associates who are trained to handle these types of situations. “We strongly encourage everyone to protect themselves by having their jewelry appraised and by contacting their homeowner’s insurance company to have their jewelry speciﬁcally added to their policy” says Kathy.
STAYING IN TOUCH
The Dickinson Jewelers website is full of great resources. Start a custom project, design an engagement ring using their online ring designer, view their jewelry collections, learn how to care for jewelry, create a wish list, read the latest blog post and even sign up for their e-newsletter by visiting www.dickinsonjewelers.com
Be sure to stay connected with them on Facebook and Instagram for photos, event info, jewelry trends, and more!