When locals go buy their next piece of fine jewelry, Michael Fagan wants them to have something that will last just as long as the memory that goes with it.
“It feels great to help people celebrate their most memorable occasions in their lives,” Fagan said. “I know that in some small way, I’ll be a little part of that story.”
Fagan is the owner of Williamsburg Jewelers, a new store opening in January next to Anna’s Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta. It will sell fine jewelry such as sterling silver, sapphire, and custom designed pieces. But Fagan doesn’t want his new store to be only about the products he sells.
He wants it to reflect the people he sells to.
“These people are my friends, I’ve lived here for years,” he said. “I want to give them something that will remind them of happy memories for a long time.”
It was in 1987 when Fagan was working as a bookkeeper at a jewelry store in Fredericksburg that he first discovered the career that would carry through 33 years of his life. When the store had been busy, Fagan stepped up to help the sales team and sold a ruby and diamond ring for $1,500. It was then he realized how much of an impact selling one piece of jewelry could have.
“It was amazing to me that I could potentially hold something in the palm of my hand that was the value of someone’s house. I had never thought about portable value before,” he said.
Since then, Fagan has connected with customers over the years selling bridal diamonds, engagement rings and other varieties of gifts. He had customers come back to bring him a piece of their wedding cake or show him photos of special events.
At 51 years old, Fagan decided it was time for him to take his story to the next level and open his own store.
But he wanted it to be different, not just a place that sold items to the public. Fagan will also be offering a consignment service to customers.
While other stores may offer this service, Fagan said his is different because he is trained by The Gemological Institute of America to give accurate valuations of gems and stones on the spot, which he said will help customers earn more for their items than they might taking it to somewhere like a pawn shop.
But for Fagan, it’s all about the story behind the items, and he keeps that in mind when working with clients who might be selling something important to them.
“I’m going to sit down and talk it out with them because frequently jewelry does have a lot of memories attached to it and I don’t want someone to sell me an item and regret it in a week,” he said. “A lot of times people are selling these because they need money for the electric bill. If that’s the case, I will work with them to try to figure out an alternative because no one should have to sell their memories to survive.”
As a member of the Williamsburg community for nearly 25 years, Fagan said he wants to use his store to give back and when he opens, his first initiative is going to be a costume jewelry swap to raise money for the Heritage Humane Society. Customers can come in and donate $5 to have their pick at a table of costume jewelry or bring in their own to trade for a different item.
In addition, Fagan wants to provide a unique shopping experience for all his guests, even the young ones. He plans to have a case in the store designed for customers ages 12 and younger to be able to afford to give jewelry to loved ones as gifts.
“Jewelry is all about making someone feel special,” he said. “I want to give everyone that opportunity,” Fagan said.
Williamsburg Jewelers does not have a set date but plans to open within the first two weeks of January.