A Kapa‘a Master Goldsmith

Master goldsmith Jim Saylor in his workshop. Coco Zickos photos

Jim Saylor
Owner, Jim Saylor Jewelers

Please tell us about your business. We are a master goldsmith located in Kapa’a. We design and make everything right here. What we do is help people celebrate great moments in their lives anniversaries, weddings, special gifts and commemorating birthdays or trips to Hawai’i. We work primarily in gold and platinum, diamonds and gemstones. And, of course, with the popularity of pearls in the last number of years, we do quite a bit in pearls. Estate jewelry has also become a large part of our business. We’ve been in business in this location 36 years this April. Some of our inventory includes products that we buy from designers and manufacturers from all over the world.

Why do you do what you do? I started making jewelry in a high school class and I just liked it, enjoyed it. It was fun and people kept asking me to make them stuff, and I kept doing it.

Why did you start making jewelry at such a young age? I didn’t want to take a typing class. And I’ve always been a tinkerer, making and creating things. When I was a little kid, if I didn’t know what to do, I’d go downstairs into the basement and I’d make things. I remember fiddling around in my dad’s workshop.

How did you start your business? I didn’t want to be in Oakland anymore. I moved to Kaua’i and had $150 in my pocket and my box of tools. I set up in the back closet here and did a lot of trade work and repair sizing. I also went to different jewelry stores around the island and did a lot of their repairs, sizing and stone setting for them.

What sets your business apart from others? Passion, expertise and variety. We have a passion for getting exactly what the customer wants and the expertise to know how to buy, how to create and what to look for in a properly made piece.

Sara Saylor assists a customer at her father’s jewelery store in Kapa‘a

What’s the most rewarding aspect of what you do? Seeing the customer totally thrilled at what we’ve done for them. Whether it is a fabulous one-of-a-kind engagement ring or repairing great-grandmother’s diamond and platinum ring, we’re totally committed to you getting what you want and you walking out of here tickled pink.

What makes you get up and go to work every day? You never know what’s going to happen that day. Also, that piece I really want to complete for somebody because I know they’re anxiously waiting for it.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? In the midst of all the fun and joy of working with customers, keeping the business viable and cash flow. Current economy creates new and different challenges, of course. One of the challenging aspects also is educating our customers, though it’s also one of the great joys of the business.

What are your plans for the future?My daughter Sara seems pretty passionate about being here. She is great with people and is learning massive amounts about gems and jewelry far more than I knew when I was her age. People always ask me about retiring, but I love what I do. This is really fun. We’re also looking at other growth opportunities like opening up another location.

Do you have a business philosophy or motto? Show up fully show up and be present.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? A professional sailor would be fun.

4-1318 Kuhio Hwy.