When you are a part of the community for nearly 100 years, you are bound to become close to generations of families and individuals. Longtime customer Velda Larson feels that Paffrath and Son are more than just her jeweler, but a part of her life, almost like family. We are so grateful for Velda and all the customers we have been proud to serve since 1926. Velda and her husband Doug are so loyal, they still travel to Willmar for jewelry despite having moved to Brainerd. They wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. That kind of loyalty is only built upon the long-term care and genuine appreciation we try to show everyone who walks through our doors. Velda was recently kind enough to share a few of her favorite Paffrath memories, and we’d like to share them with you.

Since 1983 when Velda and Doug were married, Doug has wisely treated her to a jewelry piece every year on her birthday. Initially, when they picked out their wedding rings, owner Todd Paffrath took the time to help them find settings that were suitable for their work on the farm. After 25 years of marriage, they decided on an upgrade for their 25th wedding anniversary. Our team helped her find a breathtaking diamond and new settings. Wanting to do something with their original rings, they worked with our in-house jeweler Jeff Paffrath, who took Velda’s idea and turned it into something truly unique and exquisite. Using the rings, he created an interlocking pendant with a diamond set in the center. Not only is this the piece of jewelry she gets the most compliments on, but it is also the piece that means the most to her, and remains closest to her heart. While working in the yard one day, the pendant fell off and she was devastated. Finally, her pendant was found, and Paffrath helped her find a stronger chain to prevent future issues. Doug tried to comfort her by saying, “it’s just stuff”. But to Velda, it is so much more.

Jewelry from Paffrath has become a family tradition. Velda and Doug’s son purchased his own engagement rings from Paffrath. Their granddaughter, Ava, representing the 4th generation, also recently received her very first Paffrath piece. After watching her grandmother open her own Paffrath pieces over the years, she knew exactly where they came from. Before even opening it she looked at her grandmother and said, “This is special, isn’t it?” To which Velda replied, “Yes, it is very special.” Ava Ray’s special gift was a single sliding pearl (Ava’s birthstone) on a gold chain. At the time of purchase, Velda asked Jeff Paffrath if a pearl could be added each year for her birthday or Christmas. Just like always, Jeff said, “Yep, we can do that.”

This is special, isn’t it?

Velda also shares about the time that Todd Paffrath brought loose diamonds, findings, and everything else he would need to remake diamond earrings for Doug’s mother, who was housebound. This is the level of service that Paffrath is known for. Or she talks about the time that Doug had an accident that swelled his finger. Paffrath helped him feel comfortable with cutting it off and repairing it, making an awful feeling not feel so bad.

The one occasion the Larsons purchased a piece from another jewelry store, they bought a tennis bracelet that Velda liked but wanted to add to. The store they purchased from told her they couldn’t do anything for her. She brought it to Paffrath, and Jeff Paffrath created a mold to match the bracelet and did the job. A mold that is still around, just in case. Velda also used her idea and Jeff’s talent to make a special mother’s gift for her mom. Using her mother’s and father’s wedding rings, one encircled by the other. Jeff created a priceless pendant. It was centered with a pearl. Her mother loves and cherishes it.

A piece of jewelry is not just an artistic display of precious gems and rare metals, but instead, it is a tangible memory, a piece of emotion you can hold in your hand, and a legacy to give to your children and grandchildren. Paffrath and Son Jewelers understand the importance these pieces play in people’s lives, and we are honored to be a part of it. If we are already friends, thank you so much for your support. If not, we’d love to get to know you and start a new relationship to last the next 100 years.