Son continues Smith Jewelry legacy

Quiche Matchen/Daily Clarion

Smith Jewelry Owner James Smith continues the Smith Jewelry legacy.

PRINCETON — Carrying on the tradition of a more than 60-year-old family business can seem like a lot, but not for Smith Jewelry owner James Smith.

Smith said the jewelry business has been in his name for several years, in case something happened to his mother Wanda, who founded Smith Jewelry.

Wanda passed away last month at the age of 94.

Smith said his mother got started in the jewelry business when her late husband James Shirley would repair jewelry at home and she suggested they start their own business.

The store is one of the oldest businesses on the square and opened in 1946 on South Gibson. The business then moved to Susan Bobe’s current location in 1956 and then the current location in 1980.

“It’s really all I know,” he said.

Smith said he’s been in the jewelry business his whole life. When he was young, his parents enrolled him in courses on engraving and jewelry repair. He also studied gemology.

“Being up here without Mom is strange,” he admitted and hopes he doesn’t disappoint her. Smith said he was used to being behind the scenes repairing jewelry.

Now, he’s taken over work his mother was doing like bookkeeping and secretarial duties.

“I’ve hit the ground running, doing this,” Smith said.

Smith said now, he’s trying to give the place a new look and adding more diamonds, gold chains, sterling and other items.

Smith said he added more inventory in time for the holiday season. He said by adding more items, he hopes it will get customers to come into the store to see the new items they have.

He said they still repair jewelry and watchbands, do ring sizing, and engraving.

Smith said he hopes to stay open next year.

“We hope to have an uptick in sales, to build back up,” he said.

He said he thinks that people want to go back to brick and mortar businesses. He said his biggest competition is online retail stores, but he hopes locals come out to support the store.

“We’re ready for people to come in and buy.” Smith added that they have jewelry for all budgets.

For more information, visit Smith Jewelry Princeton on Facebook.

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