When third-generation master goldsmith Paulo Geiss opened his jewelry store in historic Charleston three decades ago, he was carrying on a family tradition that began in Brazil in 1919. As it turned out, the charming jewelry store, located in the historic South of Broad district just steps off the beaten path, was the perfect place for continuing Geiss’ family legacy of providing the finest jewelry available coupled with unequaled customer service.
“The jewelry industry has certainly evolved since we opened this store 30 years ago,” states Beth Geiss, Paulo’s wife and business partner at Paulo Geiss Jewelers. “In the early days of our business, Paulo manufactured a lot of the jewelry in the store, as well as doing repairs and manufacturing custom pieces for our clients. As the jewelry business evolved, designer brands became in greater demand. Today, we take pride in associating with some of the finest, most exclusive names in the jewelry world.”
Those names, which include Forevermark, Roberto Coin, John Hardy, Kwiat, Ritani, Precision Set, MaeVona, A. Link, Hans D. Krieger and A & Furst, have helped marry the traditional values and practices of the Geiss family with the stylishness available in today’s jewelry marketplace. “I love researching new designers’ brands to offer to our clients,” Beth continues. “But I don’t make the decision alone to bring one into the store. I get the whole staff involved. We all have to feel like it’s something we’re committed to and think is special and unique. We are always looking to offer lines that are missing in this market and lines our clients are asking for.”
In addition to Paulo and Beth, Paulo Geiss Jewelers employs three other knowledgeable staff members, all of whom are gemologists. “We are committed to providing our clients exactly what they want,” states Beth. “Our staff is not paid on commission, so they never try to push what’s in the case or up-sell our clients. We all work as a team to provide the finest jewelry available and premier customer service. We want every client to leave here happy and with exactly what they want.”
Three years ago, Forevermark diamonds selected Paulo Geiss Jewelers as one of its exclusive retailers in the United States. “It was an honor for us to be the first store in downtown Charleston, the first store in South Carolina and one of the first stores in the United States to carry Forevermark diamonds,” says Beth. “Forevermark, which is part of the De Beers group, has definitely helped us expand our niche in the bridal market. In addition to engagement rings, they also offer an entire range of diamond jewelry designs, from three-stone anniversary rings to solitaire pendants to ear studs. We can also purchase loose Forevermark diamonds to incorporate into custom pieces.”
Less than one percent of the world’s diamonds are eligible to become a Forevermark diamond. Set apart for their cut, clarity, color and carat, Forevermark diamonds are crafted by a select group of master diamond cutters who release their full beauty and brilliance. Each diamond is inscribed with the Forevermark icon and a unique identification number using patented technology developed by the De Beers group. Invisible to the naked eye, the inscription proves that a diamond has met the Forevermark standards of quality and integrity, and the individual number identifies its rightful owner.
“The fact that Forevermark diamonds only come from sources that are committed to high business, social and environmental standards really fits the values of our team here at Geiss,” notes Beth. “Forevermark is committed to helping the communities and countries from which their diamonds originate. That really matters to us.”
“Forevermark and the other high-quality diamonds we sell here at Geiss give us the opportunity to offer our clients the best value for their money,” adds Beth. “The cheapest diamonds are rarely the best value. That said, we offer a range of price points here, and are always willing to provide our clients with all the information they need to make the right decisions about the jewelry
This fall, to celebrate their 30 years in business in downtown Charleston, Paulo Geiss Jewelers will introduce Plevé diamonds, a line of mosaic jewelry and accessories inspired by the way diamonds organically fit together when mixed sizes, shapes and colors are sculpted by an artist’s hand. “We’re very excited to add this line of fine jewelry to our store,” Beth says. “Only a handful of stores in the country are selling it. It’s unlike anything we currently carry.”
The addition of Plevé diamonds to its line of offerings emphasizes Paulo Geiss Jewelers’ commitment to providing current, stylish designer brands of jewelry to its clients. But the Geiss team still embraces the traditional practices and services offered by an exclusive fine jewelry store. On most days, Paulo can be found working on his bench practicing the craft of his forefathers. Jewelry repairs, appraisals and transforming out-of-date pieces into new treasures are all in a day’s work. And Paulo never tires of creating new, one-of-a-kind pieces to meet his clients’ specifications.
Paulo Geiss Jewelers is a member of the invitation-only American Gem Society and Jewelers of America, and was awarded Couture Jeweler status over a decade ago. “The first 30 years have been great,” concludes Beth. “We’re looking forward to the next 30.”
Patra Taylor writes about homes, culture and lifestyle from Charleston.