2500 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas
Nestled in the heart of Uptown, this sun-drenched 3,500-square-foot sparkle-fest is the third incarnation of Ahmed Saleh’s Park Cities store. Now 33, Saleh emigrated alone from Egypt when he was just 15 years old. Without speaking a word of English, he landed a job making and repairing jewelry at his cousin’s modest mom-and-pop store in East Dallas. Within 10 years he would open Park Cities, a high-end jewelry store catering to Dallas’ wealthiest clientele. His customers range from ambitious doctors and attorneys looking to propose with a Tacori engagement ring to billionaires aiming to impress their younger girlfriends with a Jacob & Co. watch.
The Watch Man
The first timepiece Saleh ever fell in love with was a classic Patek Phillipe. “Remember, when you’re buying a watch, it’s like you’re buying a piece of art,” he says. He does brisk business with Breitling, whose pieces run from $3,500 all the way up to $35,000 (for an 18k gold watch on a solid gold bracelet). One customer recently paid $1.2 million for a Vacheron Constantin watch with more than 100 cts. of D flawless diamonds. For his more modest customers, there are three cases of Brera Orologi watches to ogle. “I just had a customer here today I met when I was 15 years old at my cousin’s store,” he says. The gentleman bought a Brera with a black rubber band—its chunky bezel plated in rose gold—for $795. “He came in and said, ‘Man, I’m so proud of you. I know how long it took you to get here.’?”
Someone to Watch Over You
There aren’t many homages to Saleh’s Egyptian roots in his store, save one piece he designed six months ago. “See this eye?” he says, pointing at an amethyst- and diamond-encrusted almond-sized eye hanging from a black rope necklace. “It’s called the Evil Eye, and it’s supposed to protect you. And that’s a very Middle Eastern thing—Muslims, Christians, and Jews believe in it.” Saleh originally made 12 of them—in amethyst, ruby, black diamond, and white diamond—and has nearly sold out. The necklace sells for $4,700.
Sit and Stay Awhile
“The more you sit, the more you spend,” says Saleh, who says above all else he wants his store to feel inviting. There are two lounging areas in the store, the larger one accented with a gratis coffee-and-wine bar, glass fireplace, and 50-inch-screen TV. “The other day I had a lady come in to shop, and her husband went and made himself some coffee and watched CNN.”
Most Prized Piece of Jewelry
It’s not a luxury timepiece or a Cartier ring. The piece Saleh holds most dear is an 18k white gold pendant inscribed with an Arabic prayer on a simple chain that his mother gave to him six months before she died.
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