WHO OWNS CAMEOJEWELRY.COM AND WHO ARE PRESTON AND MARY REUTHER?
Well, that’s me up on the right and I’m a 20 year jewelry designer who is just a fanatic about all kinds of jewelry! And that's my wife Mary below at one of the largest jewelry shows in the world holding the largest amethyst crystal in the world! So it's really a family business and not some giant corporation where all their customers are just numbers! We get to know our customers and they are like family to us.
I love all things old and vintage as well as designer jewelry, too. I just love it all. I’m a jewelry designer by trade and can’t seem to stop collecting it! We collect old cameos and vintage jewelry anywhere we can to keep up with the demand of our customers.
Today in this very cold computer age I find it a bit more difficult to get to know my customer and let them get to know me. I like doing business the old fashion way where you not only have a customer but a person that may be your friend for years to come.
You always want to do a good job for a friend and give them their money’s worth just like doing business when you were a kid! Remember that?
There is a lot of hocus pocus among online jewelry stores on the internet these days with theft, fraud, bad credit cards and scam letters. It's crazy. No wonder people are hesitant about buying designer jewelry or old cameos on the internet.
And who needs that? It’s hard to weed out people that you want to do business with. Most of the time when you search for a jewelry company you want to get right to the owner and not an answering service located in some foreign country or the office girl that has been working there for two weeks. You want to speak to the owner of the jewelry store or the jewelry designer who will make your jewelry. Like it used to be remember?
I’m originally from New Orleans where I was a police officer for about 10 years and left after I could no longer pay my bills. But I did love it and the great guys I worked with down in New Orleans. My father was a police officer for 30 years and my grandfather for 25 years during the Huey Long era.
I lived in New Orleans all my life and never ever thought I would become a jewelry designer since my entire family came from the Bayous and swamp and there ain't much jewelry down there! I thought for sure I would be a fisherman or trapper like my grandfather and uncles.
I never thought I would ever leave New Orleans. We lived in the lower 9th ward 4 blocks from the Mississippi River, but most of my family lived on the outskirts of New Orleans in a small town right smack in the Louisiana Swamp called Reggio, Louisiana, and I have fond memories of fishing from sun up to sun down on an old bridge over the bayou in front of my Grandma's house catching alligator garfish!
It was what we ate in those days and I thought they would never end. My grandfather “Patot” (potato) was a fisherman and trapper who made his living on the swamp. He raised 9 children and never once in his life received a check from anyone! No company, no friends, no state, no federal agencies, no food stamps, no unemployment nothing! Just really hard work! And no one ever missed a meal.
The swamp provided all the Nunez family needed. We were Nunezes because all of our relatives came over on a sailing ship from the Canary Islands. We are actually what is known as Islanos. That basically means islanders. I have never been to the Canary Islands but would love to go one day maybe.
HOW IT HAPPENED!
After leaving the police department I went thru several jobs and businesses but I was in mostly high pressure sales jobs most of my life and the money was great but I was a mess mentally and physically and the pressure just caught up with me one day and I had a nervous breakdown!!! Cracked up!
Not fun, not pretty and I ended up in a psychiatric hospital for a few months. You never ever dream that you are going to end up in the “nut house” but it happens more often than you think.
But I met some great people in there just like you and me. Doctors, lawyers, house wives, politicians and so many people that you would never dream would crack up like but in today’s stressful environment it happens more now than ever before.
In that hospital is where I had two choices to make that would change the direction of my life and my destiny
#1. Make baskets for recreational therapy
#2. Design Jewelry out of plastic stuff
The whole sound of making baskets didn’t set to well with me so I went to the jewelry classes which I just fell in love with. I have no idea why but I loved all the jewelry design work and it was one of the few things that really relaxed me so it was very enjoyable and I was hooked on everything jewelry right then and there. It happened that quick. I never knew it but I was on my way to be a jewelry designer.
Maybe it was instinct. Maybe it was luck but my wife Mary and I relocated our little internet jewelry business out of New Orleans about 8 months before Katrina hit and we were very fortunate we missed the biggest storm in history. But I lost several members of my family and some good friends. So the New Orleans I knew is gone at least for me so there is nowhere to go back to.
My wife and I don’t have a physical store (who can afford it?) so we work from our old Victorian home in Saint Joseph, Missouri, just a few blocks from downtown. Me, my wife, two dogs (Baby and Scruffy) and 7 cats that all seemed to just show up at the door one day. Not at the same time but through the years. You know what I mean right?
The only claim to fame for the city of Saint Joseph, Missouri, is that it has the home where Jesse James was murdered. And this is where the Pony Express started. Very few people realize it but the Pony Express lasted for only one year!
The whole town still talks about the Pony Express like it closed yesterday! Plus this was a jumping off spot for the pioneers going out west more than a hundred years ago so the merchants here made huge money by servicing the pioneers and it seems they all built gigantic mansions to show off their wealth. And when I say these Old Victorian Homes, I mean they are really big here in St.Joe!
As time went on with our designer jewelry business and cameo collection we actually found one of those old mansions we could afford at a cheap price with tons of work needed but we just had to have it for our big family of cats and dogs and we love all things Victorian. So we took it on and we worked for 7 years restoring it!
Yep, we lived in sawdust for 7 solid years! So I set up our little cameo jewelry business in our new old home The Studebaker Mansion! Yes, the very same family that built the old Studebaker cars! I still can't believe it!
Back in the old days we worked craft shows, flea markets, and antique shows in our little Datson (we removed the back seat) for a lot of years. We would find an old antique here and one there at these dusty old flea markets and little by little after 20 years of actually living on the road, we were able to fill our old home with some pretty cool antiques. The old homes works well for our old cameo business.
So this is home and studio and we love It. So after designing jewelry, collecting jewelry, and doing everything jewelry we opened up a training center online to teach other jewelry designers to set up shop at home. And low and behold, we have about 1000 jewelry designers from all over the world in our training center THE WIRE JEWELRY BOOTCAMP.
It is a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun too and we enjoy it very much. I design my own line of Victorian cameo settings for old cameos that have lost their settings. And you will find them here on this site. And all of our other vintage and designer jewelry is here too but I kind of got stuck on old cameos and I can’t seem to get away from them.
I fix, collect, design settings, sell and do shows with my old cameo jewelry and hope to keep doing that for a long time. My wife and I live and work together 24 hours each day and have never been apart for more than one or two days in over 20 years. So, yes, it is definitely a family business. It’s a blessed life and it’s all about designer jewelry and cameo jewelry. That’s all we do.
So sometimes the worst things in your life can be a guiding light that will turn you into a God Given Direction that you were meant to be in.
Thanks for stopping by our jewelry store and, if we can help, please let us know!