My Montrose: Marco Gutierrez, Jeweler, Eklektic Jewelry Studio
How did you learn to make jewelry?
I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and joined the seminary as a young man. When I eventually left the seminary, a priest tried to get me various jobs. I was a security officer in a bank, I worked for a shoemaker, other small jobs. Then one of my mother’s friends introduced me to her son, who was a jeweler. I apprenticed with him, doing casting. Then I found another job where I learned to make medallions, then another where I learned to make bracelets and chains, and another where I learned to work with white gold.
What do you like about making jewelry?
Every piece is a different challenge. Right now we’re trying to figure out how to repair a bracelet. Then there’s a woman whose knuckle is swollen from arthritis, and she can’t fit her ring on anymore, so we had to figure out a way for her to put it on.
You had a jewelry workshop in Guadalajara for many years. Why did you decide to come to Houston?
I was working in Guadalajara and traveling around Mexico, selling merchandise. Then one day a cousin of mine who worked at Pemex [the Mexican state oil company] called me, and asked if I wanted to work in their office in California. They got me a visa, and the money was good, so I took the job. Then they opened another office in Houston and asked if I could move there. I worked for a year and a half in Houston, then they fired me. So I started making jewelry here for some other guys, who sold it at a flea market. Eventually I opened my own business at Gessner and Richmond. We bought this house in 2003.
How did you choose this location?
I love Montrose. The neighborhood is getting younger, and nicer. Young people are actually better customers, because they like to spend, and they don’t wait so long between purchases.
That’s interesting, because I’ve read that young people today aren’t as interested in jewelry as they used to be.
I don’t have that feeling. At some point during everyone’s life, you need to get jewelry, for a wedding or as a gift. And it’s young people who are getting married. We have many young guys buying jewelry for Christmas as well, for their wives or mothers. And we have many gay and lesbian couples who come in.
Why should a customer come to Eklektic Jewelry Studio rather than to a superstore?
First of all, if you come with an idea for a design, I will follow that idea. And you’ll know exactly the stone you’re buying, because I will teach you, step by step, what we do. I’ll show you two or three diamonds, teach you about them. I quote a single price, and that price doesn’t change. We’re not as cheap as some stores, and we’re not as expensive as others. Working with us, you become like our family. When you buy a stone, it’s going to be worth what you pay.
Eklektic Jewelry Studio. 1824 Fairview Dr. 713-784-0200. eklekticjewelrystudio.com