It was a rainy day in 1977 when Tom Judovits and his wife Judy signed the lease for their jewelry store in Highland Park. When they spotted a rainbow in the sky, the couple decided to name their new business Rainbow Jewelry. After being in that location for 18 years, they moved to their current space on Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena, where they have been for the past 25 years.
“When I started out in this industry, I bought out a jewelry store that had been in Highland Park for 40 years and changed the name,” said Judovits. “I had a lot of clients in South Pasadena, so when this space became available, we moved here after almost two decades in our previous location. This was the only spot that was available on this entire strip at that time.”
The son of Romanian immigrants, Judovits got into the jewelry business after graduating from college. His parents were involved in the diamond industry and Judovits decided to start his own business from scratch after his father suggested that it could be a profitable career path. After buying out a jewelry store in Highland Park, Judovits spent the next few years learning the ins and outs of the industry and attended the Gemological Institute of America.
In addition to offering jewelry and watch repairs, Rainbow Jewelry is known for its beautiful custom-designed jewelry, which includes everything from necklaces and earrings to engagement rings and wedding bands.
“We’re a unique jeweler and can make anything you wish,” said Judovits. “Sometimes people come in with no idea as to what they want, so I pick their brain and we look at different images for inspiration until we find something that they like. I tell customers to bring in pictures from magazines that they like, then we take that idea and create something special just for them.”
Custom pieces can take anywhere from two to three weeks to make. After coming up with the jewelry design, Judovits will make a rendition out of wax or metal so that the customer can see what it looks like in person.
“Sometimes when you imagine something, it sounds great but then when you actually see it, it’s not what you want,” Judovits explained. “So we redo it until the customer is happy. It’s like going to the tailor — you try it on and it either works or you make another adjustment. You’re not getting the best price here, but you are getting the best work. If you want high-quality work, that’s what I can offer you.”
Rainbow Jewelry also carries a large collection of vintage jewelry that Judovits has acquired from numerous estate sales. He buys silver and gold, as well as various jewelry and gemstones from customers — which he melts down and sources the materials from to create other jewelry.
“Customers love the personal touch we offer here,” said Judovits. “I know most of my customers by name — a lot of them have been coming to me for 20 years or more. I’ve worked with multiple generations in families and I enjoy the close relationships that I have with clients. They know my family, they’ve seen my kids grow up and we have a history with the community so most people in South Pasadena know us. We like to see new customers in here, and even though the jewelry industry has changed and become less personal with people shopping online, we continue to offer a personal experience. There are very few true jewelers nowadays — most are salespeople. I’m not a salesperson, I’m a jeweler. I happen to sell and I like doing it, but my real forte is making jewelry, which is what I really enjoy.”
Rainbow Jewelry is located at 1110 Fair Oaks Ave. in South Pasadena. It is open Monday – Sat from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Sunday. For more information, call (626) 441-3908.
Rainbow Jewelry Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 10.18.19. Support Local Business.