Jack Yacoubian used diamonds and gold as toddler toys growing up. His father was a master jeweler for 60 years, perfecting his craft in the old city of Jerusalem and teaching his five sons the trade before they were even teenagers.
When the family immigrated to Memphis, Tenn., in the late ‘60s, Mr. Yacoubian went to work as a master jeweler. It was during these years that Jack capitalized on his father’s teaching, and decided he would nurture the family legacy.
“I grew up around jewelry all my life, watching my father make everything by hand. He trained me, and it shows,” he said. “I always loved creating wonderful pieces with my father. Those were important experiences.”
Jack opened his first fine jewelry store in Memphis in 1978, when he was 23 years old. He stayed in the same building for three decades, until this year, when he moved his family here. Now he’s operating in a late 19th century building on Third Avenue South in downtown Franklin, one that has as much history as his vocation.
“The minute I saw this building, I fell in love with it. Just like the first time I drove down Main Street. I knew I had to be here,” he said. “I appreciate the legacy of this town. I wanted a slower pace than Memphis, a quaint town, and I found it.”
His business hasn’t changed much since the ‘70s; he still offers exclusive lines that range in price point (Parade and G Panther), pre-owned David Yurman jewelry and Rolex watches, and rare gold coins. But what he specializes in—and what most customers come in for—are the trademark Yacoubian custom pieces that have become highly sought after. There are rows and rows of the special sparklers in his shop, beautiful gold and platinum illustrations of what the jeweler can create.
“Not everything is custom design, but it’s what I love most. It’s an art,” he said.
“There’s that moment when you see the finished product, and it’s beautiful.”
Jack said he often finds himself in a room with a newly engaged couple, a pair with a bright future that wants a unique piece to commemorate the occasion.
“From earrings to bracelets and necklaces, I love doing it all. But I really create a lot of engagement rings. That’s my favorite part of the business,” he smiled. “It’s so great. A young couple comes in, just bursting and so happy that she’s getting something special.”
With more than 30 years of experience, Yacoubian has plenty of stories to tell, and pieces with a long history behind them. But he said his favorite memory is of something he created 10 years ago for Justin Timberlake, just after a 2002 album debut made him a megastar.
“I was his personal jeweler for many years; I was Justin’s parent’s jeweler before he became a music icon. They’ve always been loyal customers,” he said. “This one piece I remember in particular. I designed a ‘JT’ necklace covered in princess cut diamonds. It was pretty spectacular.”
For the small business owner, that customer interaction, those relationships, are the most important part.
“I have a lot of wonderful customers, from Memphis to Mississippi and all over the mid-South—and I think that says something,” he said. “I love people, and I want them to know they are my top priority.
“You are always welcome to come through my doors, and I want people to know that. I want to welcome them like they’ve welcomed me.
For information about Jack Yacoubian Jewelers, call 615-224-3698 or visit www.facebook.com/JackYacoubianJewelers.
This is part of a series on merchants in Downtown Franklin that runs each week in the Williamson Herald.