The Simmons family has been polishing and refining their legacy in the Treasure Valley for more than three decades.
But as with gemstones, there’s more than one facet to the people behind Simmons Fine Jewelry.
On Fridays, before their weekly staff meeting, you’ll find owner and founder Jay Simmons in the showroom’s kitchen, cooking up waffles, burritos, or other breakfast options.
“He created this tradition many years ago,” store owner, and Jay’s son, Blake Simmons said. “Even our sales reps with the different brands we carry like to come on Fridays to try and get breakfast. It's been a fun thing for our culture and for our staff.”
Traditions are a Simmons hallmark in their business and personal life. One tradition that hits both is sapphire rings.
“The most meaningful jewelry I've been given was a ring my father designed and hand carved when I was 16,” Blake Simmons said. “It's a tradition in the family that every son wears a sapphire like he does. He has a September birthstone, which is sapphire.”
The Simmons believe jewelry should be a celebration: whether that’s a holiday, birthday, wedding, anniversary, engagement, or a work milestone.
“When people come in, the first thing we always want to do is find out what they're celebrating,” Jay Simmons said. “Usually what I do is ask them to show me a picture of the person they're buying for, or if it's for themselves, and what they're celebrating. And we help people celebrate that occasion with something that will remind them of their success forever. That's what's cool about what we do. Because you can wear it every day, look at it every day, and it makes you happy every day because it reminds you of what you've accomplished and what you're celebrating.”
“I like to say we celebrate romance and love,” Blake Simmons said. “We just happen to be able to facilitate a purchase that lasts lifetimes to commemorate that celebration. One of my favorite things in this business is, when I'm helping people, I like to read their nonverbal cues. A smile says a lot. It's okay that people can own this stuff. There are not a lot of things that are as personal of a gift as fine jewelry.”
“For me, jewelry is very personal,” Jay Simmons agreed. “It has to be matched to whoever it’s going to. There's an old saying, ‘You don't really pick a diamond or a gemstone, it picks you.’”
If you’re considering jewelry for yourself or a loved one, Blake Simmons said you’ve probably looked around and researched before you reach their showroom door.
“It helps to get people into the showcases and touch the jewelry, see the jewelry, get a feel for what piques their interest,” he said. “Oftentimes, I'll just start them with something I feel should be attractive to what they said, or if they're really gun-shy and don't have a clue, I'll just start showing them some of my favorites.”
In addition to helping other people find jewelry, the Simmonses give it as well.
“My wife (Stacey Simmons), we’ve been married in April 40 years,” Jay Simmons said. “She has a lot of incredible jewelry and I find it incredibly gratifying to see her wear it and see how much she loves it. There was a time I gave her a new engagement ring that’s a little over five carats and I asked, ‘Do you love the ring?’ and she hauled it up and said, ‘Don't I make it look good?’ I said, ‘Touché. Yes, you do.’”
Stacey Simmons’ touches can be found around the showroom. With an interior designer’s help, she decorates the store for different occasions like Valentine’s Day.
“She’s the one who changes the atmosphere of the store,” Jay Simmons said. “She makes the inside of it what it is.”
As for the jewelry itself, Jay Simmons has an excellent memory for it.
“I have people come in that I haven't seen for years,” he said. “And I will recognize the piece of jewelry sometimes before I recognize them because I hand-pick every piece of jewelry.”
When not at work, you can usually find the Simmons family out in the community, with Jay Simmons in the orange Porsche 911 his family gifted him for his 60th birthday (complete with ‘CARATS’ license plates).
“I was born in Idaho, I'm in Idaho, and I love Idaho,” Jay Simmons said. “And we love celebrating the traditions that happen in Idaho and being part of this community.”
Saint Alphonsus’ Festival of Trees, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ada County, the Idaho Patriot Thunder motorcycle ride, and Sun Valley’s Tour de Force, have all seen support from Simmons Fine Jewelry. The store has also sponsored Gowen Thunder, IndyCar racer Sting Ray Robb, and the winner’s trophies at the Albertsons Boise Open golf tournament.
When not out and about, you can find the Simmonses with their family.
“I have my wife and my four children,” Jay Simmons said. “And I have 14 grandchildren and two more on the way. So family is a big part of life for me.”
Four of those grandchildren are Blake Simmons’.
“There are two sets of twins: 8 and 4,” he said. “My 8-year-old son says he wants to be like Dad and be a jeweler. But, you know, we all wanted to be firefighters and policemen and Superman at 8 years old, so who knows?”
But for now, Jay Simmons is happy with his eldest son carrying on his legacy. Although, not just yet.
“We have an incredibly awesome working relationship,” Jay Simmons said of Blake. “He loves the business. He's very good at it. He loves people. I would say I'm lucky to have someone to follow in my footsteps. At this point, I don't have a plan to retire because I still love the business, and looks for people, and I love seeing incredible jewelry. I'm still very passionate about seeing something that amazing that came from the earth. You realize where it came from and how incredible it is, and the beauty of the stone. I don't get complacent with it. It's just fun stuff.”
And Blake Simmons is moving the business forward while still staying true to his dad’s ideals.
“It's fun to see people come in now and they're people he started with, and he's now meeting their grandchildren as they're buying engagement rings,” Blake Simmons said. “He's very much so still the heartbeat and the life of this business. I've been able to feed off a lot of that, but also bring in some newer, innovative approaches to how we do things. Because of his hard work and his dedication to staying true to his beliefs and his passion, we’ve built something great that's been a significant part of our community here.”
You can visit the Simmons at their showroom at 1220 N. Olive Avenue in Meridian or at simmonsfinejewelry.com.
There's an old saying, ‘You don't really pick a diamond or a gemstone, it picks you. - Jay Simmons