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Meet Tom Tivol of Tom Tivol Jewels

Four decades of multi-faceted jewelry education and a continued legacy of clients who smile

Whether it’s a customer who needs a watch battery changed, a lecture hall filled with gemology students, or an alumni meeting packed with fascinated listeners, it doesn’t take long to realize that Tom Tivol is a true treasure trove. The Tivol name in Kansas City is synonymous with quality jewelry, and Tom Tivol has devoted decades to sharing his passion and industry expertise with others.

As president and CEO of Tom Tivol Jewels in Leawood’s Park Place, Tivol grew up in the well-known family business but is the sole proprietor of the store located on 116th Place. 

“My business is much smaller in physical size than most jewelry stores and runs with significantly less expense,” Tivol says. “However, the core of my business lies in my ability and willingness to teach every client, regardless of the size of the purchase. The end result is clients who smile.”

Tivol believes no customer is ever "sold" any product or service, but rather “taught."   

As a nationally acclaimed G.I.A. graduate gemologist, lecturer and teacher, Tivol has been selling, buying and appraising diamonds, colored gemstones, pearls, and jewelry to clients nationwide for more than 45 years, as well as lecturing and teaching for 43 years. Along with hundreds of speaking engagements, Tivol authored and teaches his courses in Gemological Science and the History of Jewelry Design in the Dept. of Design at KU in Lawrence which explores the “complex world of gemstone identification, quality analysis and pricing as well as the exceptionally difficult world of jewelry and gemstone appraising.”

For the first time this year, he’s teaching on ZOOM. Although the pandemic has slowed his speaking engagements and walk-in traffic, his sales are strong. In fact, despite COVID, the fine jewelry industry in general is thriving.

“Interestingly, when times are difficult, some families purchase gemstone-based jewelry as a way of acquiring assets that have excellent historical ‘store-in-value,’ to be passed on to children and grandchildren,” Tivol adds. “This is true throughout the world and has been repeated many times in my own history in the business.”

With clients in 36 states, Tivol says most of his business still remains local. Clients value his knowledge of gemstones, including diamonds, colored gemstones and pearls. 

“My desire to teach each client about the huge field of gemstones and how to shop and value them remains the primary product that attracts the public to my store, along with my appraisal and repair services,” he says.

From his early days of apprenticeship, Tivol has been amassing knowledge about jewelry engineering and design, especially designing new jewelry from old stones and metals “just sitting in drawers gathering shadows.”

Along with the pieces he designed and crafted himself, Tom Tivol Jewelry carries inventory by exciting and emerging designers in the U.S. and Europe.

Tivol is ready to launch his new website, a three-year project, that will allow purchases from $50-$500.

“For everything else, we need to talk,” he says, but he adds that customers don’t need $10,000 to walk into his store:  “I have great respect for anyone who wishes to learn more.”

Tivol says he hopes one day his son, Jake, will join him in the business, but he has no plans to retire anytime soon. “When I turn 98, I’ll hold a board meeting whether I should retire. Since I may be the only employee, it will be the shortest board meeting I’ve ever attended.”

Visit: to learn more about:

  • Diamonds, colored gemstones, pearls

  • Wedding jewelry, often designed by Tom Tivol 

  • Special-occasion jewelry

  • Appraisals/documents for sales, insurance, inheritance, auctions

  • Jewelry repair and restyling

  • Timepiece restoration

  • Bead/pearl restringing

  • Lab services

  • Resale of pre-worn jewelry

  • Speaking engagements