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Opals, pearls, and diamonds on Main Street

The display cases in Main Street’s newest jewelry store glitter with emeralds, pearls, and diamonds, ready for the grand opening. On Friday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m, 58 Facets will celebrate its arrival by 58 Facents Jewelry on First and Mainoffering 15 percent off everything. Alhambra Source visited 58 Facets and spoke with owners and Alhambra residents Rick and Karen Fonger about what brought the couple to Main Street, Rick’s love for pearls, and what it’s like to open a business in the city.

Why did you choose to sell jewelry?

I [Rick] am a graduate gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad. Gems have been a hobby of mine my whole life, and I decided to change it from a hobby to a full-time job.

Rick Fonger (R) and his wife Karen

And why locate your business in Alhambra?

We live in Alhambra at North Story Place. I am Canadian from Toronto, and Karen is originally from Los Angeles. We lived in Novato, Calif., before coming down here to Alhambra two-and-a-half years ago to be closer to my wife’s family.

We’d been looking for a house in this area, and we found a really nice old one that was built in 1927. We bought it from the original owner, who grew up in the house, and spent two years renovating it. There was only 40 amp power in it, and we had to redo all the electrical, all the plumbing. We painted it and brought it up to this century.

Rick shows off some pearl earrings.

We chose Main Street for our jewelry store after we did some marketing studies on the area. We know it’s a high-traffic area, especially because of the restaurants.

Is this your first jewelry store?

I have two other stores in Canada. This is my first store in the United States. I’ve been a storeowner for about 30 years.

Earrings made of Chinese freshwater pearls

How much of a variety do you have? Would you consider your jewelry to be very affordable?

We have something for everyone. We carry brands like Pandora, Elle, and Ti Sento Milano jewelry, which is a new company from the Netherlands trying to break in to the United States. We are one of five stores in California that carries that brand. Also Honora Pearls, which is a manufacturer of jewelry with Chinese freshwater pearls. Our line of fine jewelry manufactured in Los Angeles is by a company called UNEEK.

Are you concerned about the empty storefronts on Main Street?

We are still getting set up, but we’ve had a few people come in and walk by. Gen Korean BBQ is supposed to be open by middle of November so that only leaves the one across the street, and the city has made arrangements to fill that before the end of December.

Was the city helpful when you were going through the process of opening up 58 Facets?

The city was very helpful, especially Project Manager Janet Alvarez. She was very helpful with any questions I had and she pointed me in the right direction.

A necklace with both pink and yellow diamonds

Have you been getting involved with the Alhambra community?

Yes, we joined the Chamber of Commerce and have been to a couple of meetings. Once we have our grand opening and get settled, we plan on getting more integrated into the community.

Do you have a favorite place to eat in Alhambra?

There are a lot of good restaurants but we just gravitated towards 38 Degrees, they’re right next door. The people are very pleasant.

Anything else you would like residents of Alhambra to know?

It’s a great store, we’d love people to come.

***

58 Facets is located at 36 W. Main Street. 

Interview has been edited and condensed.

Independent journalism is a bedrock of democracy--and it's in crisis. Here at the Alhambra Source, we're committed to covering the local stories that matter most to you. We don’t have advertisers and we don’t have pay walls, but we do have bills. You read to the end of this story. That's great. But this kind of journalism will end without public support. Join us! Support the work and the democratic values it serves. Donate now!

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