Person Behind The Place: David Rees
April 5, 2022 - by Sandy Vo
Person Behind The Place:
Owner | d'Original Jewelers
David Rees mixes art and science to create elegant, handcrafted jewelry. His passion began at 17 when he acquired his own porcelain studio and found himself tinkering with gemstones and small objects. Eventually, he went on to study geology and turned his hobby into a lifelong career.
After working at Bevan Bellevue Jeweler in Downtown, Rees eventually opened d’Original Jewelers in 1990 which is now known as one of the most trusted names on the Eastside. He’s proud to serve generations of families as their trusted jeweler for diamonds, fine jewelry, watches, custom-made styles and repairs. Read on to learn more about Rees’ love for jewelry and his favorite places around the heart of Bellevue.
What makes d’Original Jewelers stand out from other jewelry shops around town?
One thing we do differently here is we sell both classic and fun jewelry. Whether you’re looking for brilliant diamonds or colorful gemstones, we have it. I also believe d’Original Jewelers stands out because we look at our business as a service, not just selling you something. When people come into my shop, it’s more than just handing off merchandise. People come in seeking advice and looking for my expertise. Over the years, I've been able to refine my skills by looking at a piece of jewelry and knowing precisely how to improve the design.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
We closed our store for a while during the peak of the pandemic. I had to figure out something quick, so I decided to do personal meet-ups with clients to keep business going. For example, I met a client in the Chic-fil-A parking lot to hand off a wedding ring I had crafted for his fiancé. It kept us alive and connected to our clients. Now, we’re seeing a slow bounce back and hopefully, we’ll get back to where we were pre-pandemic.
What factors go into finding the right jewelry for someone?
The right jewelry must speak to a person. The unique thing about my store is that 60% of our business is custom work. People come to me if they can’t find what they’re looking for and it’s easier to have it custom-made. We check in and ensure you’ll get the design you want by using a wax model during the adjusting process. Our store works in all metals, from gold and platinum to silver. If you don’t wake up loving the jewelry you wear every day, you’re not wearing the right ones.
How have you seen Downtown Bellevue change since starting your business in 1990?
Buildings have gotten so much taller, and I’ve seen more corporate and tech offices than ever before. The downtown area keeps changing faster than I expect it to.
Why do you love working in Downtown Bellevue?
If I’m being honest, it’s the people. From CEOs and schoolteachers to mechanics, I get to meet fascinating individuals every day and help them with their jewelry needs.
Where are your favorite places to dine in Downtown?
Duke’s Seafood is my top favorite place to dine. I love the quality of their service and their seafood is top notch.
Do you have a favorite place to shop in Downtown?
My wife is more of a shopper than I am, but I’ll usually buy something for my seven grandchildren when I go out to Nordstrom and Macy’s.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I love Downtown Bellevue and could stay here for the rest of my life, but I don't plan to expand. My son is a business major, and he always used to say, “why don’t you open three or four more stores?” and he didn’t quite understand it until he had his own family. Personally, family will always be more important than business, and I wouldn’t have been able to spend time with my family growing up if I had opened other stores. It was important to me that I was a part of the big moments in my children's lives.
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Person Behind The Place is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.