Who We Are
With over 130 years of combined jewelry experience and unmatched technology in the industry, we are the mom and pop store that can do anything.
John and Norene
John Paul started in the jewelry business in 1972. At the time, his father operated a trade shop that performed most of the repairs for Columbus’s retail stores. In 1975, he earned his Graduate Gemologist Degree in residence at GIA’s headquarters in California. When he returned to Columbus, he met his soon to be wife and talented pearl stringer Norene at Service Merchandise.
In 1979, a colleague from GIA offered him the job of a lifetime. By 1980, John and Norene were living in New York. John was grading diamonds and Norene was a diamond purchaser's assistant in New York’s famed Diamond District.
In a week, John Paul graded more diamonds than most gemologist grade in a lifetime. The experience gained and the contacts made, has served the Columbus area well. Instead of having to go through middle men, he is able to use his connections in New York to provide diamonds to Columbus for less than even internet retailers can offer.
But with their oldest son Eric entering school, John and Norene decided to leave the big city and return home to Columbus. In 1987, they invested their life savings on a full line of jewelry manufacturing and repair tools. With what they had left, they bought the house they still live in today and rented a small jewelers studio on Victory Drive.
This was the humble first step to becoming Columbus’s custom jeweler.
It did not take long before they opened their first retail space in 1992 across from Columbus State on University Avenue. Then in 1999 they moved again to Warm Springs Road, where they added James, Shawn, Regina, Eric and Donna to the payroll.
There, they invested in training their staff and purchasing the latest in technology. John Paul’s was the first jeweler in Columbus to purchase a laser welder. They were the first store with a CNC engraver, capable of etching a logo on a wine glass or putting a gold monogram on a leather money clip.
And they remain the only jeweler with a state of the art 3D printer, which offers a resolution of 25 μm or an ultra-high precision CNC mill with a resolution of 1 μm. In the United States, there are only a handful of shops with this amount of technology under one roof. The closest one we are aware of is in Kentucky. Customers from Atlanta to Florida travel to see us.
With all of the new staff and technology, John Paul’s needed a bigger building. In 2012, thanks to the generosity of our friends and our bank, CB&T sold us their old Wynnton Branch. After 41 years, John Paul now has the retail space and just as importantly the workshop space, to carry us into the future.
In John and Norene’s personal life, they have raised 6 children in Columbus and now have 4 grandchildren. They are both active members of their community. John has served as the president of the South Columbus Concerned Citizens and as a coach/treasurer/board member for National Little League. Norene has served in PTA and on the MCSD school board for District 7. At church, John is scoutmaster for their Boy Scouts of America troop and Norene is the nursery leader.
Eric is John Paul’s oldest and grew up in his father’s shop. His early childhood duties included sweeping the shop floor and finding small stones that bounced out of dad’s bench. After he finished school, he became an IT professional. His first job was as a database administrator for Synovus. After that, moved to Atlanta and traveled the country as a Microsoft MVP. In 2012, John Paul asked him to join the family business to manage the growing amount of 3D technology they employ.
James has been a family friend since Fort Benning brought them to Columbus. In 2001, John Paul took James on as an apprentice. It takes many years to become proficient at the bench, and James has developed into a true craftsman.
Shawn, like John Paul, started working for his father’s trade shop in 1978. He’s since worked for casting houses and high end retail stores. He can hand fabricate or engrave just about anything and is a master stone setter. In his spare time, he shoots archery competitively and enjoys long walks on the beach.
Regina raised 7 children in Columbus while working for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. When she retired, she was looking for something fun to keep her busy. In 2007, she started working part time at John Paul’s and has been critical to their success.
Donna started as a loyal customer. In 2013, she offered to help John Paul during the moving sale and has been with us ever since. She too has proved to be invaluable and we hope she stays many more years into the future.