By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (May 21, 2015) — It was just an ordinary watch, an ordinary repair.
But the watch was in the hands of no ordinary jeweler. And it may be among the last watches Richard Cook repairs.
Cook is retiring after 21 years of owning Richard’s Jewelry in Stephenville, first opening in the Bosque River Center before moving to his current location on Harbin Drive, between Interbank and Tarleton Memorial Stadium.
That’s 21 years of selling, appraising and repairing Stephenville’s jewelry. A 21-year legacy that is approaching its end.
Richard’s Jewelry is closing its doors for good once it’s entire inventory is sold out, offering customers the opportunity to save money in the biggest jewelry clearance sale around. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and so is Richard’s Jewelry.
“I’ll reinvent myself somehow,” Cook said to one customer who was having a ring appraised. “Or I’ll spend time at the hunting lease or something.”
Another instance, Cook joked, “I guess I better decide what I want to do when I grow up.”
What he’s done for decades is jewels. That’s a lot of engagement rings, anniversary and mother’s day’s gifts and a lot of husbands, fiancés and boyfriends he’s helped out of the proverbial doghouse.
“It is humorous. They all want to do the right thing, but really they have no clue,” Cook says of helping customers pick the right engagement ring. “They know they want to please the young lady, but they don’t know styles or anything.”
But Cook can always gather clues from the young excited beaus, even when they don’t realize they are offering them.
“Some people need a little more prodding than others, but they tend to know more than they realize they know. They know she doesn’t like this color or that style, and with a few clues we can find something that’s appropriate,” he said. “They generally kind of figure out which direction they want to go pretty readily.”
Through the years, the master jeweler has seen diamonds he will never forget, including one prized stone from Russia.
“The Alexandrite is a color changing stone out of Russia, and they are exceedingly expensive because you just never see nice ones,” Cook explained. “A lady brought one in one day and I looked at it and thought it was one of the best synthetic ones made in Mexico that I had ever seen.”
Except this was no knock off.
“With all the modern testing we realized it was the real McCoy,” Cook said. “It was large and beautiful, just astonishing. I’ve seen a number of them through the years, even though they are scarce, but this was the nicest one I’ve ever seen.”
As Cook spoke, he continued to work on the simple watch repair, almost done. Changing the subject, he spoke of the people he met through the years.
“If I didn’t like meeting people and getting to know them I couldn’t have done this so long, because there is so much interaction in this business,” said Cook. “I’ve learned there are so many nice people out there. And as they come back to you through the years you develop those interpersonal relationships. You become more involved with them and learn about their families and activities, the stuff life is supposed to be all about.”
The watch repair took 10 minutes. The memories made the last 21 years will last a lifetime, just like the memories forged by many of the jewels served.