Michigan’s Darakjian Jewelers Celebrates 50 Years

In 1964, when John Darakjian opened his store, Darakjian Jewelers, inside Detroit’s Metropolitan building—then the de facto jewelry district for Detroit—he spent nearly seven years sleeping on an army cot in the store’s back room to cut his commute time.

His hard work paid off. The business, now based in Birmingham, Mich., and run by his two sons, Ara and Arman, turned 50 on Oct. 14.

Courtesy Darakjian Jewelers

Darakjian Jewelers in Birmingham, Mich.

 

“When we were kids, we would see him every Sunday when he showed up to take us to Sunday school,” says Ara. “People say, ‘Oh, he wasn’t around,’ but that’s just the way it had to be. He was in the position that he had to sacrifice for his family to build something. And my brother and I have reaped the rewards of all his hard work.”

John, an Armenian immigrant who’s now a spry 84 years old, still shows up for work every day. He’s fond of saying “I’ll retire a week after I die,” reports Ara. 

Ara attributes the business’ longevity to “sheer hard work and luck,” and adds, “the business has gone through a lot over the years…including the recession around 2008 that changed everything. We’ve gone through it all, and we’re still here.”

John began Darakjian as a jewelry-repair business, and his shop was so popular it was taking in close to 600 repairs a day at its peak. To keep things organized, John instituted a one-day turnaround rule for all repairs. Which, of course, rendered his services even more in demand. 

Courtesy Darakjian Jewelers

John Darakjian in the early days of his business

 

“It wasn’t uncommon for him to show up at a store and deliver repaired items himself,” says Ara. “He built his business around that [level] of service.”

Darakjian Jewelers is now very much a jewelry retailer, stocking popular brands in bridal, fashion, and watches including Tacori, Vacheron Constantin, and Belle Étoile.

To celebrate the shop’s 50th anniversary, the Darakjians hosted a men’s shopping night and a couples event this week. 

Going forward, Ara says the goal for him and Arman is “living up to dad’s level of dedication. It’s really important that we keep that going.”

JCK Magazine Editor