As a boy growing up in Italy Roberto De Rosa used to spend hours in his dad’s workshop, watching and helping the professional jeweler set fine stones.
While other kids played after school, Roberto says, he was happily learning a trade that would become a passion and lifelong love of custom jewelry-making.
“I would go to school each day but I couldn’t wait to get home so I could run to my dad’s workshop in Rome.”
That passion brought Roberto to the U.S. in 2014 to work for a prestigious jeweler in Greenwich and, more recently, to Glastonbury, where he and his wife Cristina in April opened their custom jewelers shop in the Fox Run Mall.
Inside the light and bright second-floor showroom of De Rosa Fine Diamonds brilliant diamonds, amethyst, pearls and perodite sparkle in glass showcases.
Here, Cristina and Roberto, a certified gemologist, host their appointment-only clients and help them design exquisite custom engagement rings, tennis bracelets and anniversary earrings, to name just a few of the fine pieces the couple create.
“My dream was always to come to the United States and work for myself and make our own jewelry,” Roberto says.
He began developing his own client base and the couple made custom jewelry pieces out of their home for years before they struck out on their own and opened their Glastonbury store.
“The business began by word of mouth and it just kept growing and growing,” Cristina said.
Unlike store-bought jewelry De Rosa Fine Diamonds designs each custom piece based on input from their clients and from stones Roberto and Cristina buy directly from stone cutters.
“There is no middle man with us,” Roberto said with pride. “If you have an idea for your piece or you bring me a photo of something you like we can design it together and I can make it for you.”
“Unlike most jewelry stores, we’re not sending pieces out and ordering items. We are creating pieces in house,” Cristina said.
All of De Rosa’s jewelry is made with the purest 18 karat gold and platinum settings, Roberto proudly points out. And his work can minimize the amount of metal that shows in the settings so that the natural beauty of the stones shine brightly.
To illustrate his work, he shows off a gleaming 3-karat diamond engagement ring set in platinum that he recently completed for a client.
“See? You don’t see the metal around the stones because the setting is underneath the diamonds. There’s not a lot of metal and the diamonds just sparkle.”
Other recent custom work that rests in the cases behind him display a gold and perodite ring in a serpentine-like setting crusted with tiny diamonds and a large pure amethyst diamond-cut ring, also set in gold.
Other custom works completed recently, the couple said, were several diamond tennis bracelets and even a pair of custom-made Cartier sunglasses that Roberto set with diamonds along the frames.
The couple said their clients are often repeat customers looking for something special and brides-to-be seek out their services for signature engagement ring designs. The buying experience is a very personal one for each of them, Cristina and Roberto said.
“We don’t want to sell you something one time. We want to build a relationship with you, to make that personal connection, and help you realize your custom design ideas so that you become a lifelong customer,” Cristina said.
While engagement and wedding rings are top sellers, the DeRosas said there are a myriad of occasions to have a custom piece of jewelry made.
There are college graduations, birthdays, anniversaries and even renewing wedding vow celebrations that can be commemorated with a custom-made piece of jewelry.
Some long-married couples will even refashion an engagement ring to update it or even get a bigger stone put in.
“As they grow in their life, their relationships and even their careers people realize they can upgrade that ring to something that’s more reflective of who they are now,” Cristina said.
De Rosa Fine Diamonds
49 Wells St., Suite 214