GROVE CITY – When Joe Murawski found out about an estate sale featuring the jewelry of a Hollywood actress, he knew he had discovered something special.
“It is extraordinary,” he said of the 58.05-carat gem that once belonged to Tamara Toumanova, a Russian-born ballerina who starred with Gregory Peck in “Days of Glory.”
Toumanova died in 1996 without an heir. Her jewelry was put up for sale, and Murawski, co-owner of Joden World Resources, 144 S. Broad St., in Grove City, bought about 100 pieces including, the loose gem, a green-colored stone called tourmaline.
He designed that stone into a platinum ring flanked by two large diamonds, and the piece was fashioned by Steve Becker, Joden’s master jeweler. That ring took first place in the Best Ring Design, valued over $10,000 category in the 2019 Jewelers Circular Keystone Jewelers Choice Awards. New York City-based Jewelers Circular Keystone, also called JCK, is an authority in the jewelry field.
The ring took weeks to create, Murawski said, and JCK chose it as the best from hundreds of pieces. It’s an honor to be recognized, said Becker, who created two other award-winning pieces based on Murawski’s designs.
“It’s really a feather in our cap,” said Murawski’s son Jay Murawski, the store’s co-owner, primary buyer, and watch expert.
Joden also won a first place award from JCK for “Best Necklace Design over $10,000” for a design incorporating a platinum, diamond and black onyx pendant on a platinum collar.
From the American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards held in February, Joden won the “Business/Day Wear Platinum Innovation” category for a pair of platinum, diamond and onyx earrings.
“We’re blessed that we’re able to do this,” Jay Murawski said.
The store opened in 1970, and Joden specializes in estate, antique and modern jewelry. Joe Murawski said the pieces are designed and crafted in-house by a staff that includes highly-qualified jewelers like Becker and Terry Sipe.
“We have a little bit of everything. Virtually all of these are one-of-a-kind,” he said of their selection.
Joe Murawski said the designs set Joden World Resources apart from chain stores, where many pieces are done by computer.
“We’re not your conventional jewelry store,” Jay Murawski said.
Joden buys jewelry from the public, and sells items to jewelry stores in about two dozen states and six countries. Jay Murawski said Joden is the only independent jewelry store in its market between Chicago and Philadelphia, for a simple reason — every piece has a story.
“We’ve become a destination,” Jay Murawski said.
With some pieces, like Joden’s award-winning ring made from jewels once owned by Toumanova, who became a world-renowned performer after her parents escaped the Communist Revolution shortly after she was born, that story is one of fame and fortune.
But the shop boasts the work of major jewelry designers. It has Tiffany and Cartier pieces, and what’s believed to be the country’s largest selection of work by Carlo Giuliano, a 19th century designer who was reputed to be Queen Victoria’s favorite jeweler.
There are pendants carved out of lava rock; intricate mosaics and enamel work that require a magnifying glass to take in the details; mourning jewelry containing hair from those who have passed away; and prison rings – those were made out of plastic by prisoners and feature their portrait in the center or a photo of a loved one.
The three winning pieces are for sale, and Joe Murawski is confident the right buyers will come along.
“This is really the finest jewelry in the world,” he said.