With stunning designs and vast knowledge of all things jewelry, Oliver Smith Jeweler continues to impress us time and time again.
Oliver Smith Jeweler is announcing the opening of a new Scottsdale boutique, and the launch of their first men’s jewelry collection at Scottsdale Fashion Square’s Crystal Court. The new boutique is designed by architect Eddie Jones, founding principal of Jones Studio, and will feature Oliver Smith’s first jewelry collection for men and his signature pre-owned timepiece selection.
Oliver Smith has been making waves in the industry for over four decades and is showing no signs of slowing down. His exquisite designs paired with competitive pricing and high-quality craftsmanship ensure that his jewelry will last a lifetime, similar to his long-lasting relationship with ICONIC LIFE Publisher Renee Dee. A long-time client and friend of Smith, Dee invited the jeweler to sit down for an episode of ICONIC HOUR where the pair discussed how Oliver Smith Jeweler got its start, how he got his family involved and how he keeps the focus on quality when it comes to his pieces.
People have been collecting jewelry and timepieces since the beginning of time, but like with any industry, the landscape is always changing. According to Smith, scarcity plays a big part in why timepieces are more collectible than ever right now, and likely due to the pandemic.
“I think people were home and they had time to shop and they couldn’t travel so they had extra money in their pocket,” Smith speculated.
Along with the scarcity came the trend of flipping watches.
“I wouldn’t call them a collector,” Smith says. “But it started this hysteria of wanting to buy a watch for $8,000 from the dealer and selling them for $10,000 to somebody else. So that really took off.”
A perfect example of this that Smith gave was a watch called the 5711 from Patek. Two years ago it would go for about $40,000, then $50,000, then $60,000 then next thing you know it went all the way up to $115,000! We’re starting to think we’re in the wrong industry.
But who exactly is in this business of watch flipping? From what Smith has seen, it’s mostly men who come in looking to flip or trade their timepieces, stating that women mostly like to hold onto them. He also said that usually, the younger clients are coming in to buy the hottest item on the market while some of the older clients are looking to sell what they’ve moved on from.
TIMELESS IS IN
And interestingly enough, with the rise of iPhones, Apple Watches and other tech, it would be assumed that all generations would have moved on from the traditional timepiece and moved on to something more modern. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Smith mentioned that when the Apple Watch hit the market, there were rumblings and questions of “Will this be the end of timepieces and Swiss watchmaking?” but it seems to have had the opposite effect.
What we thought of as the industry disruptor is actually what is helping build the traditional industry up. In Smith’s words, smartwatches like the Apple Watch are a “gateway watch,” meaning people who never wore a watch before decided to purchase a smartwatch for one reason or another and got used to having something on their wrist. Then after a couple of years, they grow sick of it and decide to upgrade to a Rolex or another stunning timepiece and before they know it, they’re a part of the watch world.
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STANDING THE TEST OF TIME
Being ICONIC LIFE, we wanted to know, in Smith’s opinion, which watch brand was the most ICONIC of them all. His answer? Without hesitation, Rolex.
“They just kill it from a marketing standpoint, from a craftsman’s standpoint, from a quality standpoint. And they’re the number one brand in the industry and they continue to do it and that’s hard to sustain that for as long as they have.”
He joked that watch collectors might pick apart his comments because Rolex doesn’t make difficult, complicated watches, “but they do what I consider to be the finest job day in, day out making watches.”
BACK IN TIME
It’s been more than 40 years since Smith dove headfirst into the jewelry business and his story is an interesting one.
“The inspiration was really not artistic, it was more economic,” Smith says. “I went and worked in a casino for a couple [of] years until jobs started to open up and then my sister Susan started selling jewelry out on the west coast, and I sent her some money and she sent me some jewelry at my casino job up in Atlantic City. I started selling jewelry on the side; rolled it up, stuck it in my sock, and then would go deal craps and roulette, and then on my breaks I would try to sell.”
And it worked! After a couple of months, Smith moved out west to join his sister and they started their company, Oliver Smith Jeweler.
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“At the time we called Smith National cause we were trying to appear larger and older than we were,” he says.
They started out with a Oliver Smith Jeweler store on Balboa Island after a couple of years and continued to hustle.
“I traveled around the west to do some different shows and I really liked Phoenix because everyone was from somewhere else.”
The sunny days and perfect weather didn’t hurt either. In 1985, Oliver Smith Jeweler opened a store in Arizona and the rest is history.
THE NEXT GENERATION
About four years ago, Smith’s oldest daughter Elizabeth joined in on the fun by helping out at their aforementioned Aspen store. It went so well that she now runs the brand’s marketing efforts. His middle daughter Corrine also works alongside Smith, managing the Oliver Smith Jeweler social media.
“I’m really lucky to have both my girls with me,” he says.