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30th year is jewel in artisan's crown

Armando Godinez Sr., master jeweler at Samuel Gordon in Oklahoma City, has been in the trade for decades. This week marks his 30th anniversary at the shop.
By Catherine Sweeney, Business Writer Published: July 16, 2014


photo - Armando Godinez Sr., who has been handcrafting jewelry for 30 years, is shown. Godinez works at Samuel Gordon Jewelers.  David McDaniel
Armando Godinez Sr., who has been handcrafting jewelry for 30 years, is shown. Godinez works at Samuel Gordon Jewelers. David McDaniel

The desk was covered an array of tools, all made of matte metal or unpolished wood. Nothing stood out. Until the light caught it — a ring with a diamond the size of your knuckle.

Desk clutter is a sign of an old-fashioned jeweler, Armando Godinez Sr. said. The master jeweler at Samuel Gordon has been in the trade for decades. This week marks his 30th anniversary at the shop.

He’s old enough to retire, but refuses. Instead, he sits in his black leather chair, listening to Guns N’ Roses, handcrafting fine jewelry.

“I don’t want to just sit at home and watch TV,” he said.

None of his pieces sit in the sparkling silver and glass cases at the front of the glossy store. His pieces are custom made. They can be seen only on his desk or on their owners.

Some jewelry is fabricated from beginning to end in the shop. Many pieces just need his help.

Generally, rings don’t offer beds big enough to hold diamonds like the four-karat sitting on his desk. He builds the setting for those himself.

The biggest diamond he has set was 13 karats.

“That was a special customer,” he said.

The sophistication of his tools vary widely, from rigid files to a laser cutter.

The laser cutter, which requires the user to peer through a dual-eyed scope, is mainly used for repairs.

The laser is nearly invisible to the naked eye. As it hits the metal, popping sounds fill the workroom. Bright light emanates from the contact point.

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