Chickashanews.com

January 18, 2013

Jay's Jewelry Shines for Decades

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer, jlane@chickashanews.com
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Located on the corner of 4th St. and Chickasha Ave., Jay's Jewelry has been a facet of Chickasha for over 30 years.

The shop has honed their services over three generations. Jay's was first opened by Jason Jarnagin's parents, Jay and Mary Jarnagin, in Arkansas, before moving to Oklahoma. The family business is currently run by Jason, Kristy and Jacoby Jarnagin.

Jason might have been more known for working on pearly whites than pearls. He initially went to dentistry school. While dentistry was not what Jason decided to do, it was suggested to him that he pursue working with jewelry because he was good with his hands, Kristy said. Jason started working at Jay's Jewelry after graduating from Paris, Texas Junior College.

Jacoby is a third generation jeweler, and just as Jason helped modernize the business under his parents, Jacoby is helping to modernize the current business, Jason said.

Some of the tasks that Kristy performs at Jay's include personalized engraving, display and customer relations. Kristy said that owning a business allows her to pursue another passion: the theater. She is the treasurer of the Chickasha Community Theater and is able to handle advance ticket sales at the jewelry store.

"It's the best of both worlds," she said.

One difference between Jay's Jewelry and other local jewelers in the area is that Jason, Kristy, Jacoby as well as three staff members are certified jewelers. Jason is a certified watch repairman. Jay's Jewelry is one of eight jewelry stores that are a member of the American Gem Society in the state of Oklahoma.

Because Jay's Jewelry provides service as well as retail, the work day stays interesting. In one day, the shop might change 20 watch batteries, restring a vintage set of pearls that once belonged to someone's grandmother or help a customer design a unique piece of jewelry.

When making custom jewelry, Kristy and Jason said they work closely with the future wearer, whether they are spending $60 or $60,000.

Besides cost, the type of stone, shape, color and setting are all other factors that can be selected to fit what the customer desires.

Jay's Jewerly is able to use computer software to give the customer a preview of what the piece of jewelry will look like. This is also an opportunity to make any final changes.

"We have the means and software and education to stay ahead of the game in the state," Kristy said.

Jay's Jewelry's slogan is, "where memories begin." The motto refers to the Jarnagin's long-standing relationships with their customers.

The Jarnagins said they have gotten to know many of their customers through the generations, from a young couple getting married to years down the line when their child buys a class ring. Even when their customers move on to other cities or other states, many come back for the service they get at Jay's Jewelry.

"The story behind a piece of jewelry is more important to the jeweler," Jason said.

The components of a piece of jewelry, the metals and stones, are another passion of the Jarnagins.

"What makes a piece of jewelry unique is the beauty of the stone," Jason said. The Jarnagins and staff know a lot about stones. For instance, most people think of an amethyst as a light purple stone, but it also comes in green.

Jason said another service they provide is educating customers, especially in diamond buying, about what they are getting for their money. The cut of the diamond is most important, Jason said, as well as how well the spectrum of colors are reflected in the stone.

But whether the Jarnagins and staff at Jay's are educating, repairing or designing a one-of-a-kind piece, their enthusiasm for jewelry shines through.

"If it wasn't fun and we didn't think it was the best business in the world, we wouldn't do it," Kristy said.