“I went to Kate Sessions Elementary, PB Middle and La Jolla High before going to Los Angeles and opening a Caribbean-style juice bar in Hollywood,” said Baba, pointing out transitioning from juice to jewelry went though his cousin’s Hollywood office.
“I don’t like what I’m doing here, and I really want to try what you’re doing here,’” Baba told his cousin in LA, who replied, “Go to gemology school.”
After graduating with a gemologist’s degree from GIA, Baba worked in quality control at Alan Friedman’s Beverly Hills jewelry store, known for its dealings with A-list celebrities and exquisite pink diamond jewelry.
Baba then moved on to work for Jordan Tabach-Bank, The pawn-broker to the stars, before moving to New York City to work in the International Gem Tower in the Diamond District.
Juan Blumkin started working for longtime family friend and business partner Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway’s Nebraska Furniture Mart. While there, Juan picked up on key lessons in the jewelry trade such as “sell cheap and tell the truth,” “never stop learning and innovating” and “treat your customers like family.”
Surveying the display cases in Luxe Jewelry & Loan at 1029 Garnet Ave., Baba Lumkin, said, “We do a little of everything – retail, custom jewelry, watches, bridal engagement rings, estate pieces, repairs, repurposing.”
Examining Luxe’s exquisite display cases reveals light glinting off a plethora of rings, necklaces and earrings with multi-colored diamonds and precious stones.
“The sky’s the limit,” said Baba of Luxe’s price range. “You could spend anywhere from $100 to six figures in here. If the client needs it: I can find it.”
Luxe is a rarity, concluded Baba.
“We are a jewelry store/hybrid pawn broker,” he said. “We manufacture jewelry. We sell jewelry. We also lend money to people who are in a cash crunch.”
Besides their unique combination of full-service luxury jewelry, the Blumkins also offer discrete collateral loan services as well. Baba noted it’s often more sensible for customers who are paying for things like their child’s tuition and need money quickly “to leverage an asset with a collateral loan from us.”
Concerning why they’ve returned to PB, Baba Blumkin said: “This is our old neighborhood. We want to cater to our local community. It’s always treated us well, so we want to give back.”
Luxe Jewelry & Loan
Where: 1029 Garnet Ave.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Info: 858-900-2036, luxepb.com.