There’s more to Paul Cohen’s return to the jewelry business in the Wilmington area than just a distinctive name for his new enterprise—St. Cohen & Company. Having spent decades working with precious gems and metals in a family business started by his parents, Jay and Miriam, Cohen is bringing considerable expertise and knowledge back to the area after spending the last few years providing consulting services to jewelers around the country. His comeback is marked by the unveiling of a fresh concept in the retail jewelry business: Cohen is providing his expert advice in a low-key, gallery-style setting. St. Cohen & Company features a bar and seating area, wood floors, exposed brick, and tower display cases.
“I wanted to create a new standard for a retail jewelry business,” says Cohen, who earned a Gemologist Graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America in 1981. “I was looking at the business model and figured that there had to be a better way to do this.” Cohen adds that St. Cohen & Company, located on Kennett Pike in the Greenville Center, will have regular scheduled hours of operation, “but we will be more appointment-oriented.” He wants to emphasize the personal-service component that promotes one-on-one communication with his clientele. In other words, people are welcome to just drop by when they’re in the area. However, appointments will figure prominently in the business’s quality customer relations. And, like a gallery, collections of jewelry will be on display until a new collection takes its place every couple of months.
With a flexible display setting, St. Cohen & Company is able to complement topical cultural items from exhibitions, such as the popular “Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibition running through January 4 at the nearby Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Unlike the faux jewelry on display with the costumes at the museum, St. Cohen & Company is showcasing among its first collections many original diamonds and gemstone-set items from that era, including a late-Victorian-era, $55,000 diamond tiara—the kind a Downton lady could have sported in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. “These are exquisite jewels,” Cohen says. “But, unlike a museum display, our offerings are ones which you can experience and are for sale.”
Cohen’s knowledge of previous generations’ designing skills utilized in the creation of custom pieces by his craftsmen has built a following of clients relying on his expertise to design personalized pieces. For instance, Cohen has designed an engagement ring with beads representing the solar system that connected his client’s fiancé—a high school science teacher with a love of outer space—to the ring in a special way. Although such personalized craftsmanship can be associated with prohibitive costs, Cohen says that the “vertical production” method makes those types of pieces more affordable than one might think. “Typically, they run from about the same price to only 30 percent more” than more standard pieces, he says. An asset management department sounds like something an accountant’s office might be more apt to provide, yet Cohen confirms that St. Cohen & Company’s expertise in assessing heirlooms is also an important component of his business.
“We will help folks who have inherited pieces know what they have and what to do with them,” he says. “We can be a starting point for people’s divestment” of items families have decided not to keep. Finally, Cohen says, “Whether selecting a new item, choosing an antique, designing a unique piece, having a family heirloom appraised or repaired, you can be certain that with the family tradition of trust we have built over the years, you’ll be in good hands.”
|St. Cohen & Company
3801 Kennett Pike
Building C, Suite 300
Greenville, DE 19807