NORTH LIBERTY– The proprietors at Jewelry by Harold had much to celebrate this spring.
The custom jewelry shop at 365 Beaver Kreek Centre in North Liberty opened on April 1, 2011. To observe the one-year anniversary, Harold and Astrid vanBeek and their son Laurens hosted an open house on May 5 this year, but for good measure, they threw in a few other celebrations as well, including the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary, Astrid’s 48th birthday, Harold’s 50th birthday and their first-place showing in the Best Rings category in KCRG-TV’s A List competition.
“As a newcomer in this field of many jewelers, winning the A-list shows us that we are on the right track and that people like our way of doing business,” said Harold.
The open house was a celebration worth attending. The vanBeeks are originally from the Netherlands, and Astrid cooked fresh Dutch cultural foods for guests to enjoy.
Jewelry by Harold is a jewelry design studio, where Harold designs and fabricates unique custom jewelry as well as restores and repairs heirloom pieces using advanced technology and old-world craftsmanship right in the studio. Customers can enjoy Dutch coffee and cookies while they watch Harold work. Jewelry by Harold also carries an extensive collection of genuine Pandora jewelry and charms.
VanBeek reflected back on his decision to locate his new business in North Liberty.
“I knew North Liberty since my first visit to Iowa City in 1979. It was a cozy, laid back community. It took me a while to balance the pros and cons to establish our business in North Liberty. However, it turned out to be a vibrant town with good neighbors,” he said. “Every day, we have people who enter the store to have a cup of our famous Dutch coffee and a little chat. They come here for little questions, sometimes not even jewelry-related. I have fixed eyeglass frames and soldered remote control car keys to help people out. Walking into our store tells you about our feeling in doing business. My store is the extension of my living room, and this has led to great friendship with most of our visitors.”
Harold said getting to know his clients helps him to understand their needs better.
“I have made a lot of engagement, wedding and anniversary jewelry in the last year. It is wonderful to be part of the biggest event in someone’s life.”
Jewelry by Harold also specializes in making My Picture charms, renditions of people’s likenesses in jewelry.
“It is such a rewarding thing to do. A lot of times, they are made in honor of a joyful moment; however, sometimes it is to commemorate people. I have made charms for grandmas and mothers, key chains for fathers, and I also made some charms to remember fallen soldiers who gave their life protecting our freedom,” he said.
After April of last year, the opening attended by University of Iowa president Sally Mason, the rest of 2011 went quickly, said Harold.
“We were able to acquire some brands to the North Liberty market: Pandora, a Danish jewelry line that is the most popular jewelry product in the world; Seiko watches, the most recognized watch brand in the world; and recently we were able to add the Debbie Brooks handbags collection. Due to our development in such a short amount of time and the constant design work we do for our customers and for international brands, we are able to keep the pace of development within our business.”
The international work to which Harold refers included commissions for a Netherlands-based program similar to America’s “Dancing with the Stars,” for dancer Julie Fryer under the name Flash Jewels, a jewelry line for the European Championships Gymnastics in Berlin and the World Championships in Rotterdam. Also, Jewelry by Harold made sterling silver charms for the Gleneagles golf resort, the host of the 2014 Ryder cup. Currently, they are designing a jewelry line for a soon-to-be launched European brand, “Dolce di Luna.”
And jewelry fans closer to home will appreciate Harold’s more recent foray into the world of design.
“A few weeks ago, we were approved to design licensed Iowa Hawkeyes jewelry and handbags, iPod and iPhone covers and purses. We can also make it even more special by adding your private twist to it,” said Harold.
All reasons to celebrate a very busy and profitable year, indeed.