It can be called a “hidden gem” and a “buried treasure” because of its subterranean location and the nature of its business: Protea Diamonds has been creating custom designer jewelry for an educated and cultured clientele for 30 years in the same North Arlington location, in the lower level of the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.
And, unless you have refined taste and a passion for one-of-a-kind jewelry, you most likely have never heard of Protea, until now.
Anthony Taitz is okay with that. In fact, contrary to just about every other retailer, he prefers appointments at his quiet boutique shop with clients over walk-in foot traffic. That way, he can devote the time and attention required to craft exactly the piece the client sees in their dreams.
And some of his clients dream big. Here’s a recent example:
“My client wanted to propose marriage at the bottom of the ocean, while scuba diving,” Anthony says. “So we made a cubic zirconia copy to look like the real thing in case he lost it.” The diver-boyfriend proposed with the impressive copy underwater but gave his fiancée the real ring safely back at the hotel.
That’s just one of Anthony’s seemingly endless stories about a career that has taken him from his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa, to the dusty back roads of Texas to the bustling community of Arlington where he has earned his reputation as the “anti-mall, anti-mass market” jeweler.
“We give attention to detail, to quality,” he says. “We make exclusive, high-end, one-of-a-kind pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.”
Ideal-cut South African diamonds and precious gems are used to craft engagement rings, wedding bands, anniversary bands, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, and just as vital as the material is the education that the client receives when Anthony explains their creation.
Anthony cautions that “we are not inexpensive.” Of his pricing, he says, “on a scale of five we are between two and three.”
Modern jewelry shoppers, he said, “study the market on the Internet, and we welcome that. They know what they want and they know what they should pay. It is up to us to create exactly what they see in their dreams.”
Anthony has created his own dream along the way. He came to the U.S. from South Africa in 1983 and found a position in Dallas, driving an immense territory as a travelling salesman throughout the American Southwest. He saw hundreds of jewelry stores along the way, each one contributing to his own ideas of how he would build his own business.
After he met his soon-to-be-wife Rhonda in Dallas, “I followed her like a lovesick puppy to Arlington,” he says. Once in Arlington, Anthony made friends with the then-landlord of the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center who let him have a room in the lower level for a fabulously low rent. “It was perfect for me,” he says 30 years later. “It was a vault.”
The business grew as his reputation as a reliable, affordable craftsman spread, and it continues to spread to this day. Protea Diamonds may still be a “hidden gem” and a “buried treasure,” but there are many who are in on the secret.
To make an appointment at Protea Diamonds at 2499 North Harrison Street, call 703-536-9822 or [email protected]
The preceding was a promoted post written by Buzz McClain and sponsored by Protea Diamonds.
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