I started in the jewelry business in a very roundabout way. In my late teens, as a summer job in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I started my own lawn mowing business. One of the clients I mowed their lawn for happened to be a professional jeweler peaking my attention. After getting to know this client and expressing an interest in his profession, he invited me to visit his store. At this point, he not only wanted me to take care of the lawn and landscaping but to also help out in his shop. His store eventually became so busy that he needed my help on a semi full-time basis. I was asked to work some of the more odd jobs like retrieving and organizing jewelry boxes in the back storage room, gift wrapping boxes, polishing silver; basically working the jobs no one else wanted to do. I eventually ditched my landscaping gig and working part-time at the store.
Burnam JewElers Strives for the Highest Quality, INCOMPARABLE Customer Care and Satisfaction.
BURNHAM HAS BEEN family OWNED and family RUN FOR OVER 30 YEARS.
During my time working in the backroom, I constantly poked my head out from behind a set of French doors that divided the backroom from the main floor and observed all of the sales and customer interactions. By doing this, I learned where the precious gemstone pieces were stored, where the watches were stored and how all of the hustle and bustle was managed by the staff. This experience allowed me to discover and develop my passion for the jewelry business along with solidifying what I wanted to pursue for my career. Even as a young adolescent, I was exposed to the artistry of fine jewelry by spending time at the mall with my Mom. She and I shared a bond together looking at amazing pieces in the glass cases and becoming fascinated by the craft and beauty of each piece. I knew I was hooked.
A New Business Opportunity
By developing a strong business relationship with my former landscaping client, I went on to manage one of his stores in Chatham, NY. It was here that I got to learn the business fully, develop a strong client base and hone in on my craft as a jeweler. Soon after my taking over management at the Chatham store, I had an opportunity to take over full ownership of Shultz Jewelers located in Bennington, VT; an established well-known and well-respected community staple for 40 years.
I remember very vividly standing in my Moms kitchen at home and my Dad calling me at the house and expressing that a friend of his was planning to retire and close his jewelry store after 40 years in business. My dad’s friend was Seymour Shultz, owner of Shultz Jewelers.
My Dad said to me “why don’t you come up tomorrow to Mr. Shultz’s store, take a look at it and see what you think”. At all of 19 years old, I drove up that next day both nervous and excited to meet with Cy Shultz and my Dad. The 3 of us discussed a selling price and closed on the business sale that day. I was now on my way to owning my very own business and furthering my career as a jeweler and new business owner.
I continued to grow and own the store for about 7 years. The business was booming and I was able to build a strong client base with existing customers along with new ones. As exciting and lucrative as my new business venture was, there came a time that along with my wife needed to explore other life options. We decided to relocate to Lake Arrowhead California. This new adventure was filled with incredible mountains, scenery, and skiing at Big Bear Mountain. It was an exciting time for both of us and allowed personal growth and exploration.
Whilst out there, I befriended another professional jeweler who was established in the gemstone market. With such a wide range knowledge of colored gemstones, he taught me about the many varieties and color specimens He also taught me the skill of lost-wax casting and manufacturing that I still use to this day in my design work. In such a short period of time, I got to learn skills that typically take years of practice to develop.
From this experience, I got to develop custom work for two of the largest chain stores in the country along with working exclusively at a couple of Beverly Hills stores.
After a few years in California and feeling fully fulfilled, I decided to move back to Arlington Vermont with my wife and kids to officially open Burnham Jewelers in May of 1987.
Phil is an absolute artist. His craftsmanship and attention to detail is incredible. He and I sat down and sketched out an engagement ring design for my soon to be wife. I had a vision in my head and he helped me bring it to life. We referenced several ring styles and went through various gemstone ideas that could work with my design. After our initial sketch inception, I could not be there in person to see the full development of the ring. To accommodate for my long-distance absence, Phil sent several computer renderings that gave me a confident idea of how the final ring build would look like. I was fully satisfied and blown away with the final creation; and so was my fioncé (now Wife) -Thank You so much Phil!