It’s been around for over three decades, yet few may be aware of the raw talent that exudes from behind the store doors of Brown & Company Jewelers. Numbered at eight between both locations, the custom design team, staffed with international designers and jewelers, has fashioned and produced pieces that are close to the heart, touching, and meaningful to each of their clients.
At the Roswell store, you will find head designer and shop manager Neale Simpson who is originally from Zimbabwe and began his passion in the jewelry industry in South Africa. There he trained for five years before running his own jewelry manufacturing business of twelve years before moving to the States. This year marks his thirtieth year in the industry.
Alongside Neale is Alma McAuley, born in the Netherlands and specializing in engraving. Alma trained and mastered her skills beginning in 1975 between the Netherlands and Jamaica. She had the chance to work with the best master jewelers in a small village in the Netherlands, Leusden, and after five years of refining her skills with them, Alma moved to the States and has been with the company for twelve years.
German born and trained, Claudia DiTondo works with the Roswell team as well. After training in Nuremburg, Germany and Dothan, Alabama, Claudia completed her Masters with a jewelry designing focus in Wuerzburg, Germany in 2003. Since 2009, Claudia has been designing for the company and creating beautiful and masterfully crafted pieces.
Recently joining the well rounded Roswell staff are two of the younger designers at the company, Tai Nguyen and Steven Ho. Tai was born in Vietnam and first began his apprenticeship at a local Atlanta shop, and now is refining his CAD (Computer Aided Design) and machine operation skills under the guidance of Neale.
Steven grew up in Atlanta and his interests in the jewelry industry peaked at a young age through his family. He is now on his eighth year in the industry and specializes in stone setting and jewelry and watch repairs.
The talent continues at the company’s newer location in Buckhead. David Carrin, who has been with the company six years, heads up this shop, designing as well as doing complex custom fabrication. Beginning in 1997 as a bench jeweler at a local Atlanta company, David worked alongside Simpson in Roswell for four years perfecting his bench skills before moving to the Buckhead store when it opened in 2009.
The team working with David includes Jennifer Maxwell and Tonya Stocks. Jennifer first discovered her love of jewelry while at the University of Georgia. Since then she has completed her GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Design certification, and worked in the industry for five years in New York City, from the Gemstone Purchasing department at David Yurman, to the Product Development team at Tiffany & Co.
Tonya recently joined the Buckhead team with sixteen years of experience. She first began in 1995 at Stewart’s International School for Jewelers and since worked for three fine jewelers in Georgia, with one enabling her to travel throughout the States as well as lead trainings and demonstrations for aspiring jewelers.
At Brown & Co., every step of the design process is completed in-house — from the first client and designer meeting, to the wax and casting, to the stone setting and finishing. The designers provide sketches of several ideas for whatever your expectations are –transforming an old piece of jewelry, creating a modern look, or starting from scratch. Many designs are made through CAD and, if technology cannot do the job, designs will be created by hand. Roswell’s head designer and shop manager, Neale Simpson, says, “If we can’t do it, then it’s not possible.”