“People have been ecstatic,” Lindsay said. “What we really sense is relief. Customers are happy that K.Jons didn’t close. We’ve been wonderfully busy and are actually doing better than we expected at this point.” Greg and Lind- say, parents of a two-year-old son, Parker, say they are both grateful for the opportunity to take over from the Sherwins, who started the business in 1980 and, said Lindsay, “They worked very hard and built an amazing business and culture over the years. Because I am a former employee and they know my ethical standards, they agreed to let us retain the K.Jons name. We have partnered with and are carrying some wonderful designers from across the country and we are also eager to create our own designs.”
The Sherwins were long-time family friends; Lindsay said she knew them from an early age. “Their daughters babysat me,” she said. She later went to work at the store as a teenager, though her interest in jewelry was minimal; growing up, she said, she had a desire to be an architect. “I drew house plans as a kid; I’ve always loved designing things.”
Greg was pursuing an interest in working as a gemstone dealer. Currently serving in the California National Guard Special Forces (he is able to work remotely from this area), he found his passion for gems when, on assignment in Afghanistan, his mom asked him to find some lapis for her.
Off-duty, Greg recalls, “I was researching gems, ordering testing equipment, and made some purchases.” Which, by the way, in that part of the world is limited and he says, “not safe.” But he persevered, seeking only the highest quality stones, going from dealer to dealer and ultimately bringing home some beautiful specimens. (Lapis is a highly valued stone from the Kokcha River valley of Badakhshan in NE Afghanistan where the mine deposits have been worked for more than 6,000 years.)
Greg was born in Lemoore and, living in a military family, moved around a lot during his childhood. He later attended Cuesta and Cal Poly before enlisting in the Navy. He finished a stint, returned to civilian life and then signed up for United States Army Special Forces Green Beret. Currently, he is in charge of the training team and says, “I love helping the young guys; I run tryouts for military personnel who want to become Special Forces themselves.”
Billing herself as a jewelry architect, Lindsay continues to create creations through Lindsay Jane Designs that she describes as “Gemstones with expert design and top-quality manufacturing, creating extraordinary wearable pieces of art to cherish and pass down through generations.” She has received seven AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) Spectrum awards in a variety of categories including Bridal, Classical, Gem Diva and Manufacturing. Customers can view Lindsay Jane Designs up close at K.Jons, perhaps finding inspiration to have Lindsay personally design a custom piece of jewelry for their own collection.
Jewelry is not only the Chatham’s business; it’s their mutual interest and passion. Lindsay says that jewels are sentimental; her favorites are those that belonged to her grandmother. When Greg proposed, Lindsay said, his mom offered them her wedding ring that was a miniature of her husband’s Naval Academy Ring that Lindsay wears today. Looking ahead, she says they would like to offer shows and talks and have estate jewelry trunk shows as well as showcasing Greg’s amazing collection of rare and valuable stones and gems, already set or loose for a customer’s own design. “We’d like to do something like “Wine and Design,” she said. “We are looking forward to being involved in the community and getting the word out we are open and excited about what we’ll be offering.”
While the couple is anxious to get up to speed quickly—Greg said that he’s learning the retail jewelry side of things—they also are working to ensure a smooth turnover and take care of the employees who remained on board. “We are passionate about everyone who works here, and we want to support their passions; to that end we give paid time off so they can volunteer for their particular causes and be involved in local community projects.
Though right now Lindsay and Greg say they are crazy busy between the business, parenting and getting re-established in the community, they still try to take some time for themselves. While their number one favorite activity is being with baby Parker, Lindsay said, “We also like hanging out at home, spending time outside with our free-range chick- ens and rabbits, and anything to do with family.” They also enjoy visiting Greg’s parents in Tucson, AZ where they attend the annual Tucson Gem Show, described as amazing, and mind-blowing. The event’s website says, “Researchers, gemologists, authors, artists, miners and nearly 4,000 trade companies gather here from every continent to share their treasures, knowledge and expertise with the show’s tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of attendees.”
A grand opening for K.JONs has been postponed until a later date.