by Jeremy Jones
At September’s end, 2014, when Randolph’s Fine Jewelry closed the door for the last time, after 18 years in business at 7902 Germantown Ave., it didn’t take long for owner and master jeweler Randy Tartaglio to find a new key to a new door at a new location. Less than two months later, Randolph’s reopened at the top of the hill, at 8638 Germantown Ave.
With a fresh new look and two new partners at the helm with Tartaglio, Randolph’s continues to thrive as a destination for the finest in jewelry, hands-on service and the one-on-one attention customers value.
“My customers are like friends,” said Tartaglio. “I love interacting with them and making jewelry for them, and they like this new location. My client base doesn’t know my partners yet, but they will get to meet them and know them and trust them.”
It took less than 20 days for Tartaglio and his team to rehab and respectfully restore the space Bugay Jewelers occupied for over 50 years. They refinished and re-glazed Bugay’s original display cases, which they discovered were made of chestnut wood, and now reflect their antique charm. With additional new lighting in a stylized ceiling, “We gave it the Randolph’s flair,” said Tartaglio.
Beneath that signature flair, Tartaglio has a salient knowledge of the trade and a work ethic he learned from the best in the business. When he was 18 years old, helping his father build a concrete vault for Atlantic City jewelry designer Carl Marsini, the young Tartaglio observed Marsini at work just long enough to realize he wanted to “turn in my sledge hammer for a jewelry hammer,” and began what would become a six-year apprenticeship with Marsini.
Tartaglio went on to open his own jewelry store in Brigantine, NJ, and then, from 1992-1996, he was a subcontractor for J.E. Caldwell & Co. He opened Randolph’s in 1997, and over the years created a following of faithfully appreciative customers.
“I’ve never advertised,” said Tartaglio. “It’s always by referral.”
That appreciation extends from the community as well. For the Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s 30th annual Preservation event, held last Saturday at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, Randolph’s donated a $5,000 white and yellow-gold bracelet, containing two carats of diamonds.
Working with this caliber of jewelry is second nature to Tartaglio’s new partners: brother and sister, Marty and Zara Khatchadrian. Their father has owned a wholesale jewelry business in Center City for 35 years, where Marty and Zara have worked for the past 10 years.
“Randy had this business for 18 years,” Marty said. “We want to make sure to keep that going for 18 years, or more.”
“We are both very happy to be here,” said Zara. “A lot of people here have vintage jewelry we work on. I like it because there is a history behind each piece. I might not know you yet, but I know your jewelry.”
On a recent visit to Randolph’s, a customer from Wyndmoor came to pick up the 100-year-old Girard-Perregaux wrist watch that once belonged to her mother. She caught her breath when she saw her delicate treasure pristinely repaired and restored to perfection. The time-worn time piece had been kept in a drawer since 1987. When she slipped it on her wrist she said, “I’m going to wear it every day.”
For Valentine’s Day, Randolph’s has your heart’s desire for your heart’s desire, in a generous variety of styles and heart motifs, ranging from $125-$450. And if you are in the market for a ring that speaks love, priced at $850 is an irregular-shaped green amethyst, surrounded with diamonds in 14 carat white gold.
Randolph’s hours of operation continue to be Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This schedule affords Tartaglio the jeweler’s bench-time he needs to produce and deliver the level of quality his customers have come to rely on. Whether it is a minor repair, redesigning an heirloom piece or custom designing a new one, Tartaglio’s enthusiasm for doing the work and creating what will please his clientèle is his own reward, which he seemed to know it would be when he was 18 years old.
“I love this business,” said Tartaglio. “This is my life.”