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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 10, 2009 8 years ago

Sweet Gigs: Diamond Devotee

by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

Darren Blum works for one of the happiest places in Sarasota: Coffrin Jewelers. For whatever reason his customers swing open the glass doors — be it re-setting Grandma’s ring, modifying a band or appraising a diamond — the thought of purchasing shiny gemstones and diamonds makes them excited.

In a pinstriped button-down, Blum is all business while he assists a customer from behind the counter. He says the most important and gratifying part of his job as a gemologist is building memories with customers.
Blum’s most memorable moments are when he sells an engagement ring. The process usually begins with the groom and is followed by the fiancée.

“Picking out the right ring, the ring she’s going to love to wear every day, is the hardest part,” Blum says.
“When I get to meet her and see how happy she is with her new ring, I feel like I’ve touched two lives.”

His favorite gemstone is the tourmaline, which comes from all over the world in nearly any mix of colors.

“When you see this beautiful stone, you’re in awe,” Blum says. “They are extremely fascinating and valuable stones and also the rarest gemstones in the world.”

Custom-made jewelry is Blum’s specialty. It was also the specialty of Terry Coffrin, who founded the store in 1980. On average, Blum designs four-to-five pieces per month.

“You have to be creative,” Blum said. “You look at the materials and what you have to work with like ‘Iron Chef.’ Some people want more contemporary, some want delicate and dainty. There are so many different designs and possibilities.”

In the past, bold gold and metal were popular. But the growing trend today is little metal and big diamonds — more gemstone exposure.

“There’s more to the jewelry industry than one can even imagine,” Blum said. “It’s an enjoyable job, and when I’m finished and have a happy customer, that’s very rewarding.”

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