Jeweler in the making

Amber Gardiner apprentices in her parents' store, Gardiner's Jewelry.

ROSCOMMON – When Amber Gardiner, 25, was small, she remembers going into her mother and father’s store, Gardiner’s Jewelry, and watch her father work on jewelry as she would pull up a seat and watch – now she apprentices for her father in the family-owned shop.

“I always said I was going to be a jeweler, since I was a kid,” Amber said. “Watching (my dad) is what made me desire to do it.”

Almost a year ago, Amber went to apprentice with her father who has been repairing, sizing, and polishing jewelry in Roscommon for 25 years.

Gardiner’s father Russ said he is helping prepare his daughter to take over the business so one day he and his wife, Cindy – who manages the office – can retire.

“I really enjoy the soldering and it’s really fun to polish stones,” Amber said.

The Alger resident said she loves polishing because she gets to take an average stone and polish it into something even more beautiful and often looks very different than the original rock.

“Basically, you see one thing and it turns into something else,” said the jeweler apprentice.

Prior to taking the apprentice role, Amber worked as a key carrier at Farm & Home store in Gladwin for four years. Then business at the jewelry store picked up a lot and she came to work for her parents.

“There are a lot of challenges,” she said, citing that it is especially testing when she is doing jewelry repairs she’s never done before.

To her and her father, each piece of jewelry is special. While some pieces may not be expensive,  the watch, ring, cuff link, or necklace may have tremendous sentimental value to the person bringing in the jewelry. The daughter-father duo even repairs costume jewelry. Plus, $5 will buy patrons a watch battery and installation, which Amber notes some are a pain to get back on.

“A lot of (costume jewelry) we get is what people haven’t been able to get fixed elsewhere,” Amber said. “We do work on it.”

Gardiner said she’s always loved jewelry and had an idea one day she would be working with her dad.

This is the family’s third location, with their first being by what is now Matt’s Pizza for two years and the second location was on Boardwalk for five years. They have been at their current location for 18 years.

Gardiner’s father is thrilled his daughter is on board.

“It’s wonderful,” Russ said. “She previously got her feet wet in customer relations and business.”

He said he didn’t have to teach his daughter those things because she came to the store already knowing them.

“It’s great to work with them,” Amber said about her parents. “They are all on board to get the store doing the best it can.”

Her father said with his daughter aboard, business is great.

“We are in a good community, we have great customers,” Russ said, “things just keep getting better and better.”

Gardiner’s Jewelry is located at 706 Lake St. in Roscommon, and is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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