By Ashley Davis
J.C. Jewelers was founded in 1988 in Jackson, Wyoming by Jan and Jeter Case. The store occupies an 880-square-foot log cabin that dates to the 1930s. “We have four fabulous local women employees,” said Jan Case, “and that doesn’t include the jewelers in our studio where we make the jewelry.”
Jackson, Wyo.--In 50 Jewelers/50 States, National Jeweler interviews one retailer in each of the 50 U.S. states to find out how they are meeting the challenges of the changing retail environment.

J.C. Jewelers caters to both the local Jackson, Wyoming population and the many people from all over the world who have second homes in the Jackson Hole resort area.

The company was founded and is owned by wife-and-husband duo Jan and Jeter Case.

Jan worked in the custom jewelry business for a decade before her husband decided to join her. They went to the GIA, where Jeter studied jewelry manufacturing and Jan studied gemology.

“When he told me he wanted to become a jeweler,” Jan recounted, “I thought--we’ll go to school, we’ll live in Santa Monica for a year, that will be fun, and he’ll be in it for six months and he’ll say, ‘this isn’t for me.’ But immediately he had that design aspect that is just unbelievable. It was like he found his role in life.”

What started as a shop in the corner of a friend’s clothing store turned into today’s historic log cabin location, built in the 1930s, plus a design studio where Jeter and his team of jewelers create custom designs.

Jan spoke with National Jeweler about the uptick in their business over the last six months and what their customers are asking for.

National Jeweler: What’s the biggest challenge your store is facing today?

Jan Case: Right now we are having a growth spurt and we are having a really hard time just keeping up with it. We’re so busy.

Over the years, every year we’ve grown but this seems to be a bigger jump. Within the last six months we’ve been really inundated.

NJ: What’s the top-selling category and brand at your stores?

JC: The top-selling category for us is the custom bridal that my husband and his team of jewelers make. Our own work would be our top-selling brand.

We carry a couple of other artists at our store. Amali is wonderful. Alishan sells really well for us also.

NJ: Tell me about your regional customer.

JC: We’re fortunate that we have many types of customers. Jackson Hole is a resort. We attract not only Jackson locals and intermountain regional people but people from all over the world who have second homes here.

NJ: What’s the most popular style of engagement ring with your clientele?

JC: The most popular rings for us are the custom, one-of-a-kind rings that my husband designs with the customers and that we make here.

I would say halo rings are still really popular.

We just made our son a custom wedding engagement ring and it’s rose gold with a custom-cut sapphire. We’ve been doing a lot of sapphire center stones. It’s really pretty. It’s in rose gold and platinum.

Round diamonds are the top-selling diamond shape. We’ve been doing a lot of rose gold with platinum accents and a lot of high-karat yellow gold, 18-karat and even up to 22-karat.

NJ: Which social media accounts are important to your stores?

JC: Both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook was the most important to us, but I feel like it’s changing to Instagram.

It really feels like two different age groups right now. Facebook feels like people my age--I’m in my 50s--and Instagram feels like younger clients.

NJ: Do you have e-commerce?

JC: We do not. We’ve found that most people want a personal experience with our custom work.

NJ: What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer to a fellow independent jeweler?

JC: I would say the most important thing that I think we have done is to keep learning and changing, and that is challenging.

NJ: What’s a fun fact about you we can share with our readers?

JC: I introduced my husband to the custom jewelry business. I had been in it for about 10 years when he joined me. He always tells people that he had to become a jeweler to support my taste in jewelry.

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