Professional Jeweler Archive: Opportunity Equals Success

June 2002

Professional Insider/Five Steps to Profit

Opportunity Equals Success

Curt Vinson's career moves to management while still including benchwork

Curt Vinson, comanager of Troy Vinson Jewelers in Granbury, TX, credits training for his success at the jeweler’s bench. He started at the bench in 1987 while still a junior in high school. He performed basics such as ring sizing and chain and prong repair. After high school, he attended the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology at Paris Junior College, Paris, TX. “While at the store, I benefitted from exceptional training by my father and from fellow employee Gerald Ledbetter,” he says. “After that experience, the professional education gave me an independent perspective to working at the bench and other aspects of the jewelry industry – essential to my long-term success.”

When Vinson returned to the family store after his formal training, he took on higher levels of benchwork, including carving wax, setting gemstones, casting and performing challenging karat gold and platinum fabrication from raw material. Vinson, who became a certified JA Master Bench Jeweler in 1999, is now capable of performing almost any project.

Vinson credits his father’s critical eye and Ledbetter’s often-unorthodox approach for improving the quality of his benchwork. He recalls once asking Ledbetter for an opinion about aspects of his work on a certain piece. Ledbetter inspected it, located a problem, mangled the problem area and handed it back to Vinson, asking him to fix it and bring it back. “That’s a learning experience I didn’t appreciate at the time,” he says. “But it certainly forced me to find and take care of problems on my own.”

While Vinson has dedicated the majority of his career to the bench, he’s also capable at sales and management. He credits his father for directing the development of these skills also.

Using Technology

Vinson embraces technological advances in benchwork. He uses GemVisions Digital Goldsmith for designing with his customers, for example. “More and more, people have grown to appreciate what a computer is capable of producing. Our customers are eager to see how we can incorporate their requests in the design so efficiently.”

Vinson is equipped also with a laser welder. “It allows me to make the very best use of my time when at the bench.”

Adding to his responsibilities, Vinson recently accepted a position on the Texas Jewelers Association Board of Directors. “The jewelry industry has been very good for our family, and we all enjoy giving back through service to our jewelers association,” he says.

For the Five P’s of pricing, process, promotion, productivity and professionalism at Troy Vinson Jewelers, see Professional Jeweler, February 2001, pp. 94-95.

For information about JA’s Bench Jeweler Certification program, call JA at (800) 223-0673 or visit

Curt Vinson

Vinson spends 50% of his day at the bench.

Beth Vinson joins her husband, Curt, in managing the second family store. Both are JA Certified Senior Sales Professionals. They have doubled the amount of business at this store since the family bought it in January 1999.

By Mark B. Mann, Director of Trade Programs, Jewelers of America

Featuring Curt Vinson, JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler,™ Troy Vinson Jewelers, Granbury, TX

©2002 Jewelers of America

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications