Well-Known Jeweler Provides Quality
By EMILY RAMSEY
POPULAR DESIGNS: Michelle Holdgrafer, center, Bruce G. Weber store director, stands with Jana Helbling, left, senior wholesale account executive with Alex Woo, and Tulsan Jill Donovan, Rustic Cuff jewelry designer. Bruce G. Weber launched the Alex Woo and Rustic Cuff lines in April.
GTR Newspapers photos
Her passion for creating is what led Michelle Holdgrafer to her career path: jewelry design.
While she may not spend her days designing jewelry pieces, as Bruce G. Weber’s store director, she does get to be surrounded by jewelry every day.
For someone who loves jewelry, that’s certainly something to be grateful for, Holdgrafer readily admits.
Bruce G. Weber, 1700 Utica Square, carries a range of jewelry lines at a number of price points, designers such as David Yurman, Roberto Coin, Marco Bicego, Elizabeth Locke, Penny Preville and Denise Roberge.
Holdgrafer admits being especially partial to Preville and Roberge and their contrasting design styles. “Penny Preville is feminine, pretty and delicate,” she says. “Denise Roberge is fun, bold, heavy and unique.”
In April, Bruce G. Weber added to its offerings by launching two new lines: Alex Woo and Rustic Cuff.
Both designers were chosen due to their rising popularity, Alex Woo whose jewelry has gained a celebrity following and Rustic Cuff due to local designer Jill Donovan’s Tulsa following. Both designers offer pieces under $200.
Holdgrafer came to Bruce G. Weber in the late 1990s. After graduating high school, she attended the University of Kansas to earn her bachelor’s degree in jewelry design and then the Gemological Institute of America to earn the title of gemologist.
She spent a few years gaining experience working with jewelry designer Ann Garrett and then Moody’s Jewelry before joining Bruce G. Weber, where she began in sales, moved on to become a buyer and, now, serves as store director.
Her many roles within the company and opportunities to work alongside Weber himself helped to expand Holdgrafer’s knowledge.
“Bruce has a high taste level, and that rubs off on you,” she says, “helping you to gain the ability to see quality difference… and to understand that there’s a reason why people buy something more expensive, because it’s more expensive for a reason; it’s higher quality, made with a heavier metal for instance.”
Holdgrafer most enjoys talking about and showing jewelry and matching the right piece with the right customer. “Matching up a customer’s look and style and giving them the best advice you can, and then seeing that they wear it a lot, that makes you feel good.”
As store director, Holdgrafer oversees store operations, inventory, store marketing and employees. Yet, she makes it a point to step out and speak with customers as often as she can.
“I have to know what customers are asking for to get the right things in the store,” she says. And as customers return for various occasions, weddings, babies, graduation, bonds often are formed.
“We see a lot of regular customers,” says Holdgrafter. “And they become our friends.”