Arnold's Fine Jewelry - 127 Years of Service ... and Counting
Old Fashioned Values Equal Ongoing Success for Pasadena's Oldest Family-Owned Jewelry Store
By Mitch Lehman, Editor of The Tribune
In The Tribune's Business Spotlight, SAN MARINO TRIBUNE, Friday, March 10, 2017
Bruce Arnold, owner of Arnold's Fine Jewelry in Pasadena, was remarkably candid when asked to reveal the secret to his family company's 127 years of operation.
"Show up, do the best you can...and repeat," said Arnold with a hearty chuckle. "I don't know how else to put it. I have a wonderful staff that has been here for 30 years. They know what they are doing and I just let them do it. I am blessed to have them and I just try not to get in the way."
It's a formula that has worked for the Arnold family as far back as 1890 and as far away as Ottumwa, Iowa and for Bruce since he took over the company in the early 1990s.
"We have always operated pretty much the same," he said. "But after 127 years, we are still here. I just show up, help my clients and go home. It's as simple as that."
The company was started in 1890 by C.O. Arnold, Bruce's grandfather, who opened his first store in Ottumwa near the Des Moines River, where he sold jewelry and musical instruments from a two-story building.
"He was told by a physician that he had to get out of Iowa," said Bruce Arnold. "Personally, I think he had wanderlust. He packed up his four kids and came west. He had four more kids for which I am grateful because my dad was the last one."
C.O. ended up in Pasadena circa 1910 and set up shop in a storefront near the present-day Mi Piace Italian restaurant in the Old Town district. As the center of business activity in Pasadena moved eastward, the store moved in 1935 to a new location on East Colorado, near Pasadena City Hall. Today, Arnold's is located in the Colonnade at 350 South Lake Avenue, across the street from Macy's.
Bruce began working at the store in the early to mid-70s and bought the business when his father and partner decided to call it quits. He is a certified gemologist and member of the American Gem Society. The success of Arnold's rests on the company's dedication to design, repair and appraisal.
"The things in our showcase, a lot of what we make, you can't get anywhere else, so there is the rarity factor," Bruce said. "We do a great deal of custom manufacturing. My staff knows what they are doing and customers are very comfortable working with them."
Arnold's Fine Jewelry creates custom rings and pendants.
"All sorts of pretty things," said Bruce. "For some reason, we have a current run on custom bracelets. People bring us their ideas, we give them to a cad-cam guy and we have these amazing machines that help us through all of the steps needed to produce the item."
Arnold's Fine Jewelry can also repair all types of contemporary and vintage jewelry, including all types of watches, from Citizen to Patek Philippe. The company also has a complete appraisal service that includes photographic records as well as a full description and valuation of each item. Stone setting and gem-stone replacement services are also offered.
Bruce described his company's consignment department as "thriving."
"It is a service we have offered since the mid-1980s," Bruce said. "People inherit something they don't want and we try to find a new home for it."
In addition to the many services the company provides, Arnold claimed that another factor weighs heavily in the success of Arnold's Fine Jewelry.
"Trust," he said in an assured tone.
"Our customers trust us and they leave us things to repair that often have a huge emotional and sentimental value. They know that if they give us an apple, they are going to get their apple back. The trust factor is huge in my industry."
Arnold's Fine Jewelry is located at 350 S Lake Ave, Suite 110, in the The Colonnade. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. For more information, please call (626) 795-8647 or visit arnoldsfinejewelry.com.