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WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR A GOOD BENCH JEWELER? October 24, 2012 (0 comments)


Anchorage, AK—“Anything!” George Walton is serious. He’d do just about anything to hire a good bench jeweler for his store, George Walton’s Gold & Diamond Co. He’ll even bring someone up just for the holiday season, though he’d prefer a permanent hire.

“I’ll do whatever it takes!” he laughs. Walton admits he’s getting desperate in his search for an excellent bench jeweler. His is a high-end luxury store serving an affluent clientele in a city that’s driven by oil money. All the major oil companies have offices in Anchorage, he says, and there’s a lot of disposable income in this city of about 350,000.

“We’re high-end. We don’t do silver or entry-level, we’re second marriage and higher,” says Walton of his sizable store, which boasts a showroom of about 2,800 square feet and a well-equipped shop on the premises. He’s also known for his selection of distinctive natural color diamond jewelry.

It’s not a high-turnover staff at George Walton Gold & Diamond Co., either. In 40 years of business, he’s had only two bench jewelers—one died and the other is too old to keep working. But Anchorage isn’t exactly the center of the jewelry world, and he’s having a hard time finding a third to carry on the tradition.

“I’ve advertised as far down as Seattle and Los Angeles, but I’m not finding anyone,” he says with a sigh of frustration.  A few GIA students have answered his ads, but none have the level of experience he needs for his high-end clientele.

“We have our 10 Carat Club—clients who have center stones of 10 carats or bigger. I want to keep giving them the top-notch service they’re used to, so if they need something fixed I need to do it on-site, not send it out. Our customer service goes the extra step; we’re like a high-end concierge,” he told The Centurion.

Walton truly goes the extra mile. In fact, he goes the extra 5,000 miles. Realizing that not everyone gets to Alaska, he travels the country for clients. He does regular events in other popular affluent hotspots such as Pebble Beach and Palm Beach, but he also wants to dispel some myths about his hometown. Yes, he acknowledges, fashion in Anchorage is a little behind New York—maybe a year or two—but the climate is pretty much the same.

This is not a typical Anchorage resident.

“It’s not 55 below,” Walton says. The average winter temperature in Anchorage is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, similar to New York, and a far cry from polar bears, igloos, and Ice Road Truckers. The only difference is that winter lasts a bit longer in Alaska, says Walton. But realizing that people are sensitive to climate, he’s also advertised for his bench jeweler in Colorado and other areas where the climate is similar—but he’s still coming up empty.

For information or to apply, call (907) 562-2571.


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