New Owners Continue a Tradition of Superior Service at Smith’s Jewelers
Writer / Julie Yates
Photographer / Amy Payne
Smith’s Jewelers, located on the downtown Square on North 9th Street, is celebrating its 75th year in downtown Noblesville. Although it recently changed ownership, its tradition of outstanding customer service continues. The new owners, father-and-son team Phil and Robby Hieser, have many years of industry experience between them, and are committed to providing a seamless transition.
In 1946 Claude Shane, a member of the family that founded Shane Co., bought several jewelry stores in Indiana. He named each one Smith’s Jewelers, after a store he had purchased in Bedford. By 1970 he was ready to sell off his smaller stores, and O’Dell and Esther Lakes became the owners of the Noblesville shop. The Lakes owned Smith’s for nearly 50 years before O’Dell told Robby that he was retiring.
“My dad, Phil, has worked in the industry for years,” Robby Hieser says. “When I was 19 and just out of high school, I got a job as a polisher. I thought it was just something temporary until I figured out what I would do, but after a year I fell in love with the job. Because I was so interested in it, I had a fast apprenticeship, and after two years I became a jeweler.”
Jewelry polishers work with various tools, both electric and handheld, bringing gemstones or precious metals such as silver, gold and platinum to their full potential. Their work includes removing scratches or dull coatings to repair and restore items. In contrast, a jeweler not only sells jewelry, but also takes the polisher’s job several steps further.
“When I became a jeweler, I started providing two services to people,” Hieser says. “I began creating custom designs and doing metal fabrication. I also got the opportunity to repair broken pieces of jewelry that meant a lot to people. I went to work at Smith’s after I had been employed in corporate stores because I wanted to work in a place where the employees cared about what they were doing, and put people first before profit.
Smith’s is a full-service jewelry store. Repairs, including watches, are completed on the upstairs level, and the retail area is on the street level of the building. The shop carries sought-after jewelry brands such as Simon G and JYE International.
“In 2019, O’Dell told me that he planned to retire in a year and he wanted to give me plenty of time to find another job if that was what I wanted,” Hieser says. “I told him I would stay with him to the end. Then, a few months later, my dad and I found a way to buy the business.”
Hieser has noticed a few recent wedding ring trends.
“Yellow gold is starting to come back, while white gold has always been strong,” he says. “People are moving toward a vintage look, and we are also seeing some couples wanting minimalist settings. We use computers to design rings to any customer specifications.”
Although Smith’s uses modern methods for computer-aided designs, its custom rings and other pieces of jewelry are made with the traditional lost-wax casting method. A computer-generated wax replica of a design is used to create a ceramic mold. During a heating process the wax melts away leaving a void, in which liquid metal is poured.
A video, titled “The History of Smith’s Jewelers,” was recently produced to honor O’Dell and Esther Lakes, and cites the many contributions they made to the Noblesville community. It also introduces the Hiesers as new owners. It can be viewed on YouTube under the video’s title.
“Our jewelers are top notch,” Hieser says. “We pride ourself on craftsmanship. We know that a ring or piece of jewelry has vows, stories and memories associated with it. With this understanding we are able to take extra care with what people give us to fix, or what we can create for them. A woman came in who had lost her husband to COVID. She wanted to turn their wedding rings into a heart to wear over a necklace. The memories she shared about their three-week trip to Alaska gave us meaning, and enabled us to make a beautiful united heart for her.”
Hieser adds that the goal of the owners is to honor the legacy of O’Dell and Esther Lakes, and offer excellent customer care.
“We realize that a piece of jewelry like a ring is so much more,” he says. “It represents a lifetime of memories. We are committed to continue caring about the people we serve.”
Smith’s Jewelers is located on the downtown Noblesville Square at 98 North 9th Street. For more info, call 317-773-3383 or visit SmithsontheSquare.com.