The Ballard & Ballard History and The Future Of Jewelry Design

Guy: Guy Ballard over at Ballard & Ballard Jewelers; your fourth- generation family jeweler. Going to start off by, in a couple months in February, we will be celebrating our 97th year in business. I go back to 1917. Our great-grandfather started a company in downtown LA, Ballard & Ballard of California, which was a true wholesaler to the jewelry trade.

We actually did a lot of gold ring manufacturing to other jewelry stores. In the ’70s, my father transitioned from wholesale to truly going retail, to where he opened it up to where his jewelry store clients, their friends and family, can actually come in and purchase jewelry. From that point on, it was just a slow transition from wholesale to retail.

Fast forward to 2013: Currently, we have a 2000-square-foot showroom in Fountain Valley, on the corner of Brookhurst and Ellis; 18400 Brookhurst, right next door to CoCo’s Restaurant; beautiful 2000-square-foot showroom.

I’ve got 16 showcases featuring anywhere from very simple sterling silver jewelry, to beautiful colored gem jewelry, to absolutely gorgeous diamond jewelry. Diamonds are our specialty. We love diamonds. There’s no other material in the world that will bend and refract and actually play with light like diamond does.

We actually have an office in Antwerp, Belgium, that we share with other jewelers. We go there once a year and cherry-pick out the world’s best diamonds. I had the great opportunity just about a month ago to go and actually do that. I’ve actually posted on our Facebook page a couple of beautiful pictures of diamonds that I actually purchased and some jewelry that I’ve made. I’d invite everybody to go to our Facebook page too, Ballard & Ballard Fine Jewelers, and you can see what’s up-and-coming and what we’re doing.

Also in our showroom, going back from 1917 to 2013, you can imagine huge, huge advances in technology. Currently I have . . . in our shop we do all of the jewelry repairs, manufacturing, and designing in-house. We do it all right there in our showroom. In my shop, I have a laser welder that I’m actually building and repairing jewelry by laser beam nowadays.

We actually have a computer engraver that can actually engrave anything from the inside of a ring, to a champagne bottle, to wine glasses, to a silver platter. We got a lot of latest-and- greatest technology now. We also have a bridal app to where you can load into your devices and it shows 3-dimensional bridal rings; really, really helpful for the people that you know that are thinking of getting engaged. Tell them about that; it’s called The Vow.

What else we have? Glenn is having a blast. He’s been doing The Vow for about 8 years now; having a blast with a computer CADCAM modeling, computer modeling of jewelry now. He designs it all on the computer, then that computer file gets downloaded to a milling machine that actually carves a wax pattern per the computer file, and then you cast it in the metals. Pretty spectacular.

This Christmas, we are definitely . . . it’s Christmastime everybody, I don’t know if everybody knew that. It is Christmastime. I have . . . my staff is in place. I have the inventory in place from a really good spread of inventory, not just thousands and thousands of dollars of jewelry, but we have some very simple items also, that start as little as $50. I definitely invite everybody to come in and visit me this holiday season.

If anything, just come on in and check us on out, and that’ll help you get a good visual so you can refer people to us. I’ve got my staff in place, I got inventory in place, the showroom’s decorated. Tonight and tomorrow night we’re actually having a VIP holiday party for our customers, which I would invite everybody here to please come on by tonight from 6:00 to 9:00 tonight and tomorrow night: Fully catered, champagne and wines, and special discounts will be handed out tonight.

In a nutshell, that’s what we are; we’re a jewelry store. We’re actual jewelers; we’re not just a retail store that just sells it. We are jewelers and we’re passionate about it. What questions, concerns, testimonials do you have? Shawn?

Shawn: Do have special holiday hours?

Guy: Thank you. I completely forgot about that. Open 7 days a week now: Monday through Friday 10:00 to 6:00, Saturday 10:00 to 5:00, Sunday 10:00 to 4:00; all the way up to Christmas Eve. Come on by anytime. Sheila?

Sheila: Did you happen to bring me back my watch?

Guy: No. You have to come into the showroom. That’ll give you . . .

Sheila: That means I have to come to the store.

Guy: Exactly.

Sheila: Get me to buy something else. Crystal?

Crystal: If you want to see the quality of their work, I had them redo my wedding ring setting for me, and it is beautiful. There’s nothing like it. They designed it. If you want to see up hand personal, I have one of their pieces. Thank you, it’s beautiful.

Guy: Thank you. Val?

Val: I have a testimonial. What I liked about Ballard & Ballard are you and Glenn. You’re family-owned and I would trust you, and I have trusted you. Sent my son there, an employee there, and it’s about forming relationships, especially in this jewelry industry. Like the automotive repair industry, it’s only a few that give it a bad name. I have 100% trust in Ballard & Ballard.

Guy: Thank you. I’ll go back to our great-grandfather and grandfather; they instilled in the family the business practices we do today, the ethics we do today, and how we treat people today. Yes, Val’s 100% right, it is definitely a trust business. There’s a few out there that really screw it up for everybody and it’s a shame. I definitely invite everybody to come on in. Just get a feel for what we do, come take a look at our showroom. We’ve got a gorgeous showroom, very proud of it. We’ve been in that location now for 16 years now. Let the Christmas season begin.

Glenn has a son in college. I have a 16 and a 12-year-old sons. I want them to go to college, let them have some options. Let them go work for somebody else. If they want to come in, then we’ll talk. They’re not just going to dive right into the family business. We want them to have all the options available to them.

Val: One other thing: My watch battery died, I took it in, and he was like, “We don’t . . . do it at no charge.” I was . . .

Sheila: Did he keep the watch?

Val: No, I have it right here.

Guy: Sheila, Sheila, Sheila.

Val: Thank you.

Guy: You’re welcome.

Val: Another great service by Ballard & Ballard.

Guy: Thank you. Any little incidental charges we put right into that bucket.

Business Growth Innovators Member: Do you get coffee or tea?

Val: Free coffee or tea.

Guy: Terry.

Terry: I was just wondering, do you make spoon rings?

Guy: Out of the handles of spoons?

Terry: Out of silver spoons?

Guy: Yes, we do, actually. I have one in the showcase. I take a handle of a silver spoon and I actually curl it into a ring. I actually do have one in the showroom right now if you want to come on by. Ron?

Ron: Are you still giving out free diamonds and gold on birthdays?

Sheila: I missed it.

Guy: Nice try Ron. Sally?

Sally: Twice I had my wedding rings on, and twice my band has broken on me and I have almost lost my wedding ring, Bought it to Guy and he fixed it. Then when he fixed it a second time and he said, “It can’t be fixed anymore, so now we have to do some major repairs on it.

” He’s already given me a quote on what that’s going to cost and he’s going, “When you’re ready, bring it in and we’ll take care of it.” He didn’t say, “You have to do it now. If you don’t do it now, you’re going to lose your diamond and then you’re going to be really upset about it.” He didn’t hard pressure me to get it done. That’s what’s really important, because he cares about me and knows me, he’s not caring about what’s going in his pocket. Ultimately he is, but it’s not about that. It’s about the relationship.

Guy: A little side note on that: Since I did quote that, gold has gone down a little bit.

Sally: Yes, I like that even more.

Guy: There you go.

Sally: Thank you.

Guy: Thank you very much, everybody.

Val: Good job.