By Brecken Branstrator
Select Jewelers, founded in Houston in 1996, is closing its doors.
Houston—After more than two decades in business, Houston retailer Select Jewelers is closing up shop.

Founder V.K. Sethi opened the store in 1996, and has since made it a point to treat his clients like family.

“We know our customers by name, know about their families, where their kids are going to college, their last vacation,” said daughter and co-owner Sangeeta Sethi.

“It’s like walking into Cheers,” she said, referencing the famous bar from the 1980s sitcom.

V.K. came to the United States from India when he was just 19 years old and had only $400 to his name.

He graduated from the University of New Mexico before moving to Houston to work as an engineer.

Occasionally, he’d travel home to India and bring emeralds back he’d sell to local retailers.

Based on the response he had from them, V.K. eventually decided to leave engineering to open a wholesale business.

With access to high-quality diamonds and gemstones, he began designing and manufacturing his own jewelry, which led to him opening his own store.

“Because we source, design and manufacture the jewelry, we can offer the very best prices to our customers,” Sangeeta said.

V. K. has spent the last 50 years acquiring a private collection of jewels and loose diamonds from around the world, which will now be available to the public in the store’s going-out-of-business sale.

Select Jewelers is currently being run by V.K., Sangeeta and her brother, Nitish Sethi.

There are also many staff members who have been with them since they opened the store 23 years ago.

The family has made giving back to the community a big part of the business, donating to Houston- area schools and supporting the Hope Endowment nonprofit organization, which provides housing, food, clothing, and medical and social services to children in need in India.

20191125 Select Jewelers insertPictured, from left to right, are Sangeeta Sethi, V.K. Sethi and Nitish Sethi.
Sangeeta said her father and mother, Neelima, are most looking forward to traveling once the store has closed.

She and her brother are also looking forward to the next chapter in their lives but, for now, their attention is focused on their father’s retirement and closing the store.

“When our customers found out we were closing, it was heart-wrenching,” she said. “There are lots of tears from all of us. We’ve had phone calls, texts and messages from so many wonderful people. It’s a testament to our business and our amazing staff.”

Select Jewelers is one of a number of well-known independent jewelers to announce they are closing recently.

Johnstown, Pennsylvania retailer J. Dennis Petimezas, owner of Watchmaker’s Diamonds & Jewelry, also has decided to retire after 45 years in the business.

Meanwhile, John and Jenny Caro will close their store, Jewelry by Designs in Woodbridge, Virginia, telling local news they will “explore other interests.”

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