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Letting Loose

Jewelers share how they unwind

By Irina Missiuro

We asked seven busy jewelers how they relax after a long and stressful holiday season. Check out the ways they recharge—who knows, maybe you’ll get some great ideas for your next vacation or day off! Here’s to rejuvenation!

Running on Warm
Lee Krombholz, Krombholz Jewelers, Cincinnati

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For Lee Krombholz, the busy season doesn’t end until the third week in January, after he finishes all the orders he couldn’t get to in December. Then, he and his wife Heather usually plan a trip to Sarasota or Siesta Key, Florida. Once they reach the warm climes, they like to walk on the beach and enjoy the gorgeous views. For exercise, Krombholz prefers to do yoga and go running. He usually covers three to eight miles per run. “It really helps with stress,” he shares. Having participated in 13 marathons in the past, Krombholz now sticks to half-marathons. “I do the Flying Pig in Cincinnati once or twice a year,” he says. Another opportunity the beach affords him is the time to read. A lover of historic fiction, he just completed A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and is looking forward to meeting more interesting characters on his upcoming trip.

Strike a Pose
Martha Seely, Martha Seely Design, Concord, Massachusetts

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Martha Seely doesn’t have much time to unwind. “I always think I will be finished, with time to get ready for the holidays, two weeks before Christmas, but something always seems to come up last minute,” she says. Because she suffers from chronic back and hip pain, she makes sure to schedule regular massages. And when her stress levels go up, she visits her acupuncturist as well. But things are not as innocent as they seem; Seely says, “I confess that I really look forward to my nightly glass of wine!”

Shortly after the holiday season ends, she has to start getting ready for the first tradeshow of the year. Despite the lack of time, however, Seely makes sure to carve out some hours to go to the gym, which she visits three to four times a week. In addition, she might do some yoga, as well as clean her house and studio—anything to get the blood flowing. “Getting regular workouts and moving my body away from my bench and the computer really helps,” she says. Of course, having a clean house and studio doesn’t hurt either. The short-lived order makes her “feel great and ready to start the New Year.”

Fresh Start
Michael and Catherine Jensen, Michael Jensen Designs, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Catherine Jensen says, “We crash for a day or two after the last holiday item is done and shipped.” With more time to spare, the husband and wife resume eating “serious balanced food—not the on-the-fly type of the holidays.”  They go for walks in fresh air and maybe do some light yard work. Also, they partake in “marathon sci-fi sessions or rom-com time with the TV.” 

After some time off, they organize any last-minute follow-ups from the holidays, and start prepping for their trade show at the end of January. That involves making all of the pieces that are designed but are still not in metal and gemstone. “Thus, entering another crazy busy time frame,” Catherine points out the cyclical nature of the profession.

A Foodie Haven
Robert Hallett, Robert Hallett Goldsmith, Oakmont, Pennsylvania

Robert Hallett has had a busy year. Since February, he switched to 3-D printing, LED lighting, and a new website. To top it all, he jokes that he works two months in December to take care of all the holiday orders. In fact, he’s been known to move into the shop the day after Thanksgiving to cut down on the drive time. That’s why he can’t just take off when the rush subsides; “I wind down slowly,” he says. To switch gears, he tries to perform the tasks that will be the most fun. For Hallett, this means paperwork maintenance and bench cleanup.

After Christmas, he allows himself a month or two to “catch up with personal relationships and go out.” Because business naturally slows down in January, Hallett can take some time off to relax and enjoy all the great restaurants Pittsburg has to offer. A foodie, he appreciates the diverse and ethnic options, such as fusion places and Italian, Greek, and German eateries. Also, Hallett shares that the city is currently undergoing its second “brewery renaissance,” another great opportunity to hang out with a group of friends.

azSince Pittsburg is mostly cloudy this time of year, Hallett and his wife travel to Tucson to reinvigorate. The visit to the city always includes a trip to his all-time favorite tool store, Kent’s Tools. “They have about eight tables just with pliers,” Hallett marvels. In Tucson, he and his wife do a lot of hiking, walking in the desert, and of course, eating out. “It’s one of the places I relax the most,” Hallett says. He likes that, no matter which restaurant he chooses there, he’ll be seated next to someone he knows.

Slow and Easy
Lori Friedman, Loriann Jewelry, Westport, Connecticut

Lori Friedman says she is swamped all through the Christmas week, until New Year’s Eve. She explains that the store is busy with customers who are wrapping up their holiday shopping, exchanging items, and redeeming gift certificates. After the craziness finally subsides, she likes to organize her office in January; she calls it “a wrap-up month of the holiday season.” Friedman uses the time to check her inventory, do some paperwork, and perform some sales assessments. All these tasks need to get done before February, the month during which she starts designing her spring line and getting ready for market week.

In between January and February, Friedman tries to squeeze in family time. “That’s my relaxation. I really look forward to it,” she says. Sometimes she and her husband visit their son Adam at Florida Atlantic University, where he plays Division I golf. They like to watch his tournaments. Other times, they travel to Maine for a low-key trip or down south to bask in the sun. One of Friedman’s favorite vacation spots for unwinding is the Cayman Islands, where “the sand is like velvet underneath your feet.” There, they like to snorkel, stroll, and swim with the stingrays. While it’s hard to get away, Friedman acknowledges it’s important to whittle away some time to relax and connect with the loved ones. “This is what it’s all about,” she says

A Bingefest
Cynthia A. Haddad-Drew, Cindi’s Diamond & Jewelry Gallery, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Cynthia A. Haddad-Drew admits, “I ramp it up a bit after Christmas. We like to get together with family at my house to celebrate.” This year, the festivities will be held a bit later, during the New Year’s weekend. She treasures this time when her four children and three grandchildren can get together under one roof. After all, they are all spread out, with her sons in Vermont, New Jersey, and Germany, and her daughter in Hawaii.

lasA vegan, Haddad-Drew loves to cook. For this year’s celebration, she made her beloved signature dish—“a heavy-duty sweet potato lasagna.” She prepares it with noodles, sauce, veggie mixture (corn, red peppers, mushrooms, tofu, and spices), spinach, and—of course—sweet potatoes. Although somewhat time-consuming, it’s worth the effort; “My family appreciates it,” she says.

In addition to connecting over meals, they like to watch movies and shows together. A number of her family members work in food service, so they prepare some homemade snacks that pair well with wine and beer, and settle in for some fun programming. Haddad-Drew says that their favorites include the Star Wars series and the Ocean’s trilogy. “We also like binge watching ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Recreation,’” she admits. “I really like to hear my family laugh."

Parlez-Vous des Vacances?
Ross Coppelman, Ross Coppelman, Goldsmith Inc., East Dennis, Massachusetts

RCAfter the stressful holiday season, Ross Coppelman likes to unwind in the sun. “I go to St. Barts for three weeks. That fixes everything,” he says. Since Coppelman is “reasonably competent” in French, he can hold a conversation with the locals and the fellow vacationers. A self-described Francophile, he enjoys everything this French-speaking Caribbean island has to offer, including the culture, the croissants, and the lack of crime. “It’s more like being in France than in the Caribbean,” he says. Coppelman and his wife have been renting a villa on the island for about two decades now. Over the years, he’s “met lots of nice people there.” He likes the social aspect of the vacations and sees the presence of many Americans as “a big carrot at the end of the stickiness.” But that doesn’t mean that he spends all his time gallivanting with the crowds. On the contrary—a book club member, he loves cuddling up with a fascinating volume of contemporary fiction. And St. Barts is the perfect place to do that, as it is “a laid-back place, with no bustle or hustle,” he says. 

When he wants to exercise, he takes advantage of the island’s hills. A past runner, Coppelman now focuses on walking, and St. Barts provides a great platform for some strenuous exercise. While riding the roads is an adventure, he admits, the steep drop-offs are not so scary when you’re on foot. The island’s beaches are also perfect for strolls. “They’re pristine and undeveloped,” he says. Overall, St. Barts is an ideal place to “kick back and do very little.”

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