Visit gleaming Ward's for jewelry, watches and even engraving!
Last updated 9/7/2007 at Noon
There is a jewelry store in Bonsall that literally gleams. It gleams because of the gold and genuine stone jewelry inventory and it gleams because of the warm and friendly personality of the owner, George Ward. One of the aspects of the business he likes best is “meeting people, making friends and talking.”
Ward mentioned that he read in a magazine that jewelry stores can be scary places for people and, thus, some people avoid them. But, people shouldn’t assume that the prices will be higher. What customers will get at Ward’s is quality, custom work and lovely jewelry in a well-lit setting.
In addition to custom-designed jewelry, there are also gift items such as beautiful roses that are tinged with real gold. The roses are freeze-dried and then coated with gold plate in some areas and painted with clear enamel in others. The result is a beautiful lasting rose in either gold or a beautiful natural hue.
Ward mentioned that there may be a “fear factor when leaving jewelry with a stranger for repair.” To alleviate this fear he will take photographs of jewelry through the microscope. If there is a challenging job he will take before and after photographs.
“Through the microscope I can also see cracks in mountings and other flaws that can be fixed,” said Ward. Ask for a photograph of your jewelry piece before leaving it if it would make you feel more comfortable.
Ward told a story of a stone that, at first, looked like it had a bubble in the center, but under the microscope it showed a garnet within the diamond. “Now [the owner] knows that is the stone’s fingerprint she can use for identification.”
Ward’s Jewelers is a store that actually has its roots in Idaho. Ward’s father opened a store in Idaho about 1950 after obtaining certificates in watch repair and Gemological Institute of America certification.
In 1955, after tiring of the harsh Idaho winters, Ward’s father searched the ads for stores for sale in Southern California. That’s when he found a store in Fallbrook.
Ward purchased the store in 1955. “We were like a general store, in a way, because if someone didn’t have something, like luggage, we would get it for them,” Ward recalled.
Ward worked in his father’s store while attending Potter Junior High and Fallbrook High. “I did kid stuff at first, like washing glass and sweeping,” he said.
George was gradually given more responsibility and he learned to polish jewelry as well as to engrave.
“When I was in Potter Junior High, I purchased my first engraving machine by working for a penny a letter and putting the rest toward the cost of the machine. Later, I purchased a larger machine by doing the same thing. I made my spending money at a penny a letter.”
Ward joined the US Army, did a stint in Vietnam for three years, then returned to Fallbrook in 1972 and began to work full-time in the store. “I kept getting more involved in the business,” he mentioned.
In 1997 his father retired and Ward took over the business. Ward’s Jewelers lost their lease in Fallbrook, so in the year 2000 the business moved to River Village in Bonsall. His father passed away in June of 2000 but was involved on a part-time basis until his death. His mother is still involved.
In addition to the jewelry he offers for sale in the store, Ward works with gold and custom designs jewelry. He enjoys the custom designing aspect of the work. “It’s like trying to read [customers’] minds – figuring out what they want so when the work is done it is what they had in mind.”
Ward recommends that his customers collect pictures of jewelry to show him. “There is a lot of junk mail with pictures of jewelry they can collect and then jell it down to a style they like. I can come up with a design, but it won’t work if it isn’t what they want.”
In addition to creating custom jewelry, Ward repairs jewelry, installs watch batteries and does machine engraving. He also has a custom engraver to call upon if requested by a customer.
People driving down Main Avenue in Fallbrook can still see the Ward’s Jewelers sign on the former store structure. Even though it has been painted the same color as the building, it is still visible from the street.
“I hope they leave it there,” said Ward with a laugh. “It’s good advertising.”
South Mission Road, Suite 704