Mohammad Barimany and Jairo Rojas didn’t open Dominion Jewelers in 1985 with the goal of selling 25 to 35 pieces of jewelry — 80 percent of them made in-house — a week. But that’s exactly what the brothers-in-law are doing.
Barimany, a gemologist, handles the diamonds and precious gems, while Rojas, a Rhode Island School of Design–trained craftsman, manages design and manufacturing.
“They really married their two talents, and it’s still that way today,” says Rachelle Barimany, Mohammad’s daughter and chief operations and financial officer.
Many other aspects of their business have changed, however. For one, it moved in 2013 from 107 Rowell Ct. in Falls Church to its bigger current location at 917 W. Broad St.
But the biggest shift was their business plan. They initially set out to provide high-end custom manufacturing to local jewelers, not to the public. It was an untapped market in the Washington metropolitan area at the time, Rachelle Barimany says. “You had to go to New York [or] L.A. to get high-end custom manufacturing,” she says.
But word quickly got out about a duo of talented jewelry makers. By the time Barimany joined the company in 1997, it was 60 percent manufacturing and 40 percent direct-to-the-public retail. She and her cousin, Sergio Rojas, Jairo’s son and the store’s general manager, switched directions with consumer advertising and marketing campaigns.
Today, the shop has 27 employees, most of whom are focused on retail, although they maintain a small contingent of wholesale clients.
“The people have changed, who we serve has changed, but the core values of the company, I think that’s definitely a key to the longevity of this company,” she says. “My father’s and my uncle’s business principles and practices have really been instilled in the second generation of this company. … We’re just a big family.”
Engagement rings, which are mostly custom-designed in-house, are among their bestsellers.
The store designs about 80 to 100 rings per month. Barimany has noticed some new trends in what people want. This includes more yellow gold and less platinum, and more colored stones, especially sapphires, taking the center spot. Streamlined designs with hidden halos are also popular. (A regular halo is a ring of small diamonds surrounding the center stone, but in a hidden halo, the diamonds sit below the stone and face out, not up.)
“We’re seeing a lot of stacking simple engagement rings with multiple bands to get a bigger, chunkier look, but each [component is] a little bit simpler and a little more tailored,” she says. “Also kind of a throwback is our two-stone engagement rings. We saw that in the ’80s, late ’70s.”
Despite being investment pieces, engagement ring styles are fleeting, she says. While resetting a ring is easy for someone who wants a new look, it may be a better choice to avoid getting too trendy.
“Diamonds are beautiful in any way, shape, or form,” Barimany says. “All of these designs can be tailored for the person. Choosing an engagement ring is a lot about figuring out who’s wearing it and what their hands look like and what’s going to look best on them.” 917 W. Broad St., Falls Church
What’s In Store
1. Platinum eternity band with 32 emerald-cut diamonds, $19,000
2. Yellow 14-karat ring with tsavorite garnet, tanzanite, and diamonds, $13,600
3. Platinum wedding band with sapphire and diamonds, $40,000
4. Platinum halo wedding band with baguette and round diamonds, $6,400
5. Pink peach morganite set in rose gold with small diamond halo, $8,500
6. Fancy yellow canary diamond with hidden halo and platinum diamond band, $35,000