You may know Sam as the friendly proprietor of Sam’s Jewelry & Watch on Hill St. in Downtown Los Angeles but there is a lot more to know about both his passion for goldsmithing and the family business that started it all.
What inspired you to start your business?
“My grandfather opened the business in Cairo Egypt right around 1930. It’s a family business and I used to enjoy watching my dad work ever since I was around 10 years old. I used to fix and work on projects that my dad would give up on because they were too challenging. I started to fix things my dad considered difficult just to show him I could and to see him proud of me. It was interesting to get involved in the family business.
Before that I started carving knife handles. The shape and process of carving was interesting. I was artistic from the start. Little by little getting involved in the business and creating my own design and own pieces.”
Can you tell us a little about your background? When did you open your own store in California?
“I moved here in the year 2000. I was fortunate to be selected for the immigration lottery after my father passed away. Was afraid to start my business right away because my English was not that great so I started to go to Pasadena city college to acquire some basic skills to start. After that I opened in 2002-2003 and established very good customer service with clients and worked on the pieces as if they were my own. My main goal is to make sure the customers are satisfied and happy to wear their jewelry. Just the same way my dad was proud of me I enjoy seeing that same look from my customers. Now I have worked on projects for celebrities like Jason Mraz, Ricky Martin and LP.”
Were you always in this spot downtown?
“I was in 637 just around the corner, then moved to this location. I used to have a Glendale galleria location as well, called Galleria Jewelry and Watch Repair. It was a second location until 2012 when it closed due to construction. It was too tiring being between two locations. Mall hours were very weird and not good for my family and we had almost no life. Seven days a week until 10pm.
In 2010 someone called to review the business from LA times and scheduled an appointment and took a few pictures and said it was going to be in LA times. On a Sunday. When I saw the article, I was very happy. It was released in May 2010. People still come through that even though it was from the old location.
Many people find me through published articles, Google, Yelp, word of mouth and even Siri. Search “Hey Siri find me the best jewelry store in Los Angeles” and my store comes up as the number one result based on our top ratings.”
What are you working on now?
“I am working on a project for LP fan club. And just finished a very large and detailed medallion for Omar that says “King Omar”. I am also to focus on my line to make it more artistic and higher quality. There is always room for improvement, I am always learning new skills and techniques and enjoy using them in new work. I am mainly focusing on engagement rings. The same style of a ring can also be in a pendant or earring. I am more passionate about style then type of jewelry. My style is mostly between vintage and modern. The shank should not be not so busy and the design should focus on the center stone which is maybe 8 prongs. In a solitaire ring 8 prongs is nice with a simple shank. I try to be simple. Simple but high quality.”
Are you married? Do you have any children? Hobbies or passions outside of jewelry world?
“I am married and have two kids, Isabella and Patrick. Isabella is an artist and is 9 years old. She likes art and loves to do projects just like me. Patrick is still 6 years so I can’t figure him out yet. Bella has a strong artistic sense and she has beautiful drawings and loves jewelry. She might take over the business one day. My wife Angie came to the US in 2007 and we were married.
I like soccer, ping pong, and table tennis. I have a table at home and play with my family. I also enjoy playing volleyball in our backyard.”
Did you get any formal schooling for your trade? How are you developing your skills?
“No formal jewelry training, but decades of experience watching my father and practicing.
I mainly focus on a being a world-class goldsmith. I don’t talk like a sales guy. That’s not who I am. I don’t know the skills of a sales guy, I know the skills of a goldsmith.”
With decades of experience and generations of goldsmiths in his family it is no surprise Sam’s Jewelry & Watch Repair is one of the top-rated jewelers in all of downtown Los Angeles. Whether you need a full custom design or a small repair or sizing Sam is the only one you should take your jewelry to. With our no pressure environment and trendy shop we promise you will be will always completely satisfied with our detailed work and service.