Jewelry is not simply an object. It helps fulfill a need, a dream, a desire. There is a great satisfaction when someone who hasn’t experienced custom design comes into our store and discovers how special it can be.
– PAUL POTENZA
Design One Jewelers has been in business for over 35 years. We have built and earned our business brick by brick and customer by customer. We are not simply a jeweler in the buying and selling sense. We are consultants, craftsmen, artists and someone you can truly trust with your jewelry. We don’t want your business for a single jewelry job. We want to be your jeweler, and your family’s jeweler, for life.
Originally located in an old dental office on Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater, Design One Jewelers started strictly as a wholesale repair business. The idea was simple: pick up and deliver repairs for both independent and corporate jewelers (including Maas Brothers, Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penny and Service Merchandise.) Good word of mouth from those jewelers helped Design One expand and relocate to where it is today: in the heart of Countryside.
Although most identified as being a “mom and pop” jewelry shop… (and we are to two Great Danes), Design One does a lot of everything: custom designs, appraisals, and buying and selling estate jewelry large and small, gold, platinum, sterling silver flatware and coins, just to name a few things. Honestly, there isn’t much we haven’t tried to do for our customers and after so many years, there isn’t much we haven’t seen. When in doubt, check us out.
Our location is unique because it is in the heart of busy Countryside but a little off the beaten path. We are in Countryside Centre, (Yes, it’s really spelled Centre), in the same plaza as T.J. Maxx and directly across from Tuesday Morning.The shop is tucked away on a long wooden boardwalk that reminds one of a slower time and pace. The word charm comes to mind, because we feel charmed to have such a lovely view every day we work. Our “front” door is around back and faces a fountain filled lake that teems with turtles, fish and, yes, sometimes otters and alligators. It’s a beautiful location to do business and create something special.
Paul is the co-owner of Design One Jewelers. With a background as a goldsmith, his skills include repairs, creating jewelry, setting diamonds and gemstones, casting jewelry, appraising and all of the practical hands on experience that comes with over 35 years in the jewelry business.
When he was 18, Paul started working for Nobel Jewelers in Clearwater’s Sunshine Mall, one of the first malls in Florida. He was then offered a delivery job at Design One Jewelers on Cleveland Street, where he eventually gained more responsibilities in the trade.
Today, Paul mostly enjoys the creative aspect. “When someone comes into the store and they don’t know what they want, the best part is figuring out that puzzle together and helping them feel comfortable with their decisions,” Paul says. “Jewelry is not simply an object. It helps fulfill a need, a dream, a desire. There is a great satisfaction when someone who hasn’t experienced custom design or good old fashioned customer care comes into our store and discovers what that is. When a satisfied customer leaves with anything from a simple repair to a gift for another, it’s great to know that I have been a part of that.”
Design One hasn’t changed all that much over the 35 years in Countryside. Paul has maintained a certain sense of what the original shop had, while incorporating some of the latest techniques and equipment (CAD – Computer Art Design & Laser Welders).
One of Paul’s strengths, is working with young guys who have never considered a piece of jewelry. It’s usually one of their first major purchases, like an engagement ring. Paul gives them a good education on buying a diamond and he doesn’t push them into something that they aren’t sure about. It’s all about listening to the customers real wants and needs and not just selling them something and moving on.Roz Potenza
Her greatest attribute is her kindness and patience with customers. She is not your typical salesman. Roz will spend as much time talking about your dogs (or hers) as she will your jewelry. She puts the customer at ease and makes them feel like a friend.Paul Potenza
Roz married into the jewelry business but it has been a very natural fit. Her artistic tastes range from the sketch pad to the paint brush, from the bolt of fabric to the finished costume. She has been involved in the Arts, in one form or another, for the past thirty years. Marrying Paul meant she was able to take her artistic vision in yet another direction and she began learning how jewelry was created.
Roz has been working at Design One since 1995. Back in the day, in order to do a custom design, she carved waxes as starting points for customers to see prior to casting. Now things have changed a great deal and while she still carves waxes, she’s had to submit to the sophistication of computer designed options. “Sometimes though, the old way is still the best. There is something so cool about hand carving a piece of hard wax (usually in some horrible shade of green or blue) and then see it cast in a precious metal and polished to a high lustre. It’s the most amazing transformation ever.”
She has the ability to carve the wax, design a ring from scratch, or restring pearls (one of her favorite activities), and she keeps trying to incorporate technology into Design One. “We are definitely a throwback business, but not in a bad way. We still like to do things in a more simplified form. Call it old fashioned but it works for us and we have thousands of customers who would agree.”
Roz is also an actor and writer in the Tampa Bay area. She was a founding company member and costume designer for the Eckerd Theatre Company at Ruth Eckerd Hall, and is typically found onstage today with Jobsite Theater at the Straz Performing Arts Center.