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Friday in Franklin County: Christensen Jewelry

Welcome to Friday in Franklin County! I love the place that I call home and the businesses that are here that I’ve decided to share a piece of it with you every Friday!

First up is Christensen Jewelry and owner Russell Gibson! Russ first got started in jewelry making in high school when he took a metals & jewelry class during his sophomore year at Washington High School in Washington, Iowa. The art teacher did jewelry work on the side and was very involved with everything the kids did. During the class they learned the proper techniques to hand make everything, cut and finish the stones, etc. They were required to produce a minimum of 30 designs before they were allowed to create a piece itself. One semester in this class and Russ was hooked.

Owner of Christensen Jewelry, Russ Gibson

Owner of Christensen Jewelry, Russ Gibson

Upon graduating high-school, Russ headed to the University of Texas to major in Jewelry Technology & Watch Making.  While at the University of Texas, he received a scholarship to head to Switzerland for 16 months and become a Swiss Certified watch expert.  After returning to the states, he took his first job at Scneff Jewelry in Davenport where he worked for a short time.  Then, he had the opportunity to purchase a wholesale trade shop & watch repair business that took him back to his hometown of Washington.  While there he had a private office and actually did repairs for 27 jewelry stores around the state.

In 1987 at the age of 23, Russ purchased Christensen Jewelry in Hampton, Iowa.  Russ told me, “I called on December 17th about purchasing the business and 10 days later I moved to Hampton and started working!”  Christensen had been in business and providing strong customer service for 27 years prior to Russ purchasing it.  Russ says that one of the most frequently asked questions is “Why didn’t you change the name?”  To be honest, at the time, Russ didn’t have the money to buy a new sign, change merchandise packaging, bags, etc.  So, the previous owners told him that he was welcome to keep the name until he could afford to do so and well….that was 29 years ago!

A wide variety of jewelry and gifts can appease all!

A wide variety of jewelry and gifts can appease all!

When asked what his favorite part about owning Christensen Jewelry, Russ replied that is  because he gets to be included in all of his customers special events and celebrations in life.  Whether it be an engagement, wedding, an anniversary, or the birth of a baby, they come into his store to purchase something to celebrate and he gets to be a part of it!  He also said it’s been neat to follow customers throughout the years from engagements to births and then their kids getting married, etc.  Russ says the best part of owning a business in Franklin County is that the City of Hampton and the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is excessively supportive of main street and the businesses there.  He also loves the great family environment to raise his two sons!

Gifts are abundant at Christensen Jewelry!

Gifts are abundant at Christensen Jewelry!

If you have time, I strongly suggest a drive to Hampton to check out all that Christensen Jewelry has to offer.  Not only do they have high end jewelry pieces (Russ can design jewelry with the best of them), but they also offer an extensive costume jewelry department and a large variety of gifts including crystal, clocks, candles, and baby gifts!

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