Trading Places

A Wholesaler Steps Behind the Counter

Khatchig Jingirian couldn’t contain his excitement in a recent Facebook post: “EIGHT DAYS until the doors of Smythe & Cross Fine Jewelry officially open for business! JULY 1st 2010 is the big day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The longtime Italian gold wholesaler—his parents run Jingirian Fine Jewelry—is opening his first retail store in Los Altos, Calif., after 15 years working on the other side of the counter. Jingirian will serve as president while Pamela Purcell Smith, a former Gleim the Jeweler staffer, will be vice president, in their recently opened Smythe & Cross Fine Jewelry. The name is a variation of the owners’ monikers: Jingirian tweaked Smith to give it a more Old English sound, while Cross derives from an Armenian translation of Khatchig.

“It has always been a dream of mine to own a retail jewelry store,” Jingirian tells JCK. “I live for the moment when a customer finds that certain something that makes their eyes light up.”

The store’s niche will be fine designer jewelry, featuring lines such as Ramon from Spain plus local artists like Clare Ullman. With 10 retail competitors in the vicinity, Jingirian aims to distinguish himself by becoming “event central”—moveable showcases will free up space to host in-store parties. “Our goal is to support local community organizations and charities,” says Jingirian, who has done events for Ronald McDonald House and the American Cancer Society.

Kicking things off at Smythe & Cross—a.k.a. event central—will be a grand-opening celebration in September.