Jeweler Sal Praschnik is 87 years old, but he can’t imagine retiring. His day job, he says, is simply too much fun.
And this year, the jewelry retailer and manufacturer is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the company he founded in Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., Sal Praschnik Jewelers.
Though his son, David Praschnik, runs the company at this point, Sal still gives the final sign-off on every piece the shop’s workshop turns out.
“I still enjoy coming in every day and fighting with my son,” says Sal, laughing. “But really, I enjoy my association with him very much. I love having lunch with him every day…. I also love that fact that we’re still making beautiful things. I’m so proud of what I’ve done in 50 years.”
Sal, who moved from his native Cuba to New York City as young man, served in the Marines in the Korean War and went directly into the jewelry industry after: “The day after I came back from my service, I started working at my brother-in-law’s platinum jewelry factory,” he recalls.
When Sal took a vacation to Miami 18 years later, he made the decision to move there permanently. But because Miami was at the time strictly seasonal in its retail, he built a business traveling around the country selling jewelry to stores—at one point managing four traveling salesmen.
He ultimately settled down in southern Florida, opening Sal Praschnik Jewelers in 1968. Years later, David and David’s wife, Virginia Praschnik, joined the business. And Virginia is now the firm’s award-winning designer who conceptualizes the ultraglamorous, high-end pieces the company’s become known for.
Original jewelry from Sal Praschnik Jewelers
Sal says he’s grateful that his company will be in such capable hands going forward.
When asked if has retirement plans, he responds, “Retirement? I don’t know. On the weekends sometimes I stay home and I watch TV and we go out to dinner. But after a while, I get bored.”
The jeweler awakes at 5 a.m. every morning and reads the newspaper top to bottom. Then, he says, “I’m ready to go to work.”
Sal, who started his career making $9.29 a week in a diamond factory in Havana, racks up this success and longevity in the business to one thing: perseverance. “You have to keep going, keep trying,” he says. “Don’t ever give up!”
Top photo: Sal Praschnik (all images courtesy of Sal Praschnik Jewelers)