Work In Progress: Rendering vs. Reality in Exclusive Jeweler’s

Not long ago, an exclusive, sought after designer from NYC attended a trunk show at a jewelry studio in Columbus, Ohio. She walked up the stairs and entered the studio through the velvet tufted doors and said “this is unlike any retail space I have ever been in.” She was blown away, and as a native New Yorker, you could tell she wasn’t just being nice! 

For any jeweler, this is one of those moments you can only dream of. For David Johnson of D.C. Johnson, Ltd., this dream became a reality.


A year ago, we introduced you to a work in progress design for a one of a kind jewelry studio. The founder, David Johnson, envisioned a chic space that would provide an elevated experience while showcasing jewelry from top designers in the fine jewelry market, as well as his custom jewelry.

Today on the blog, hear what David and lead designer, Esra, think about the finished D.C. Johnson, Ltd. studio.


Reminder of what the space used to look like. Photos courtesy of Crimson.

According to Esra, this has been one of her favorite projects to date at Crimson. The various relationships at play in this studio renovation made it a project to remember. David is unique, not only in his great taste and eye for detail but also the importance he places on establishing personal relationships. The relationships David formed with Crimson, the architect and the builder resulted in a fluid design plan and execution.


“This was such a fun project because no one else in Ohio offers what David does. Because of the nature of D.C. Johnson, Ltd., we got to undertake a design that is unique to the design world. This isn’t just a jewelry studio; it’s an exclusive jewelry-buying experience. From the marble floors with gold inlays to the custom woodwork by David Schlabach, and the tufted velvet upholstery on the doors by Fortner Fine Living, the extensive finishes and details create an elegant and welcoming ambiance.” Esra, Lead Designer


The deep navy blue tufted doors are outstanding – one of David’s favorite details in the space! They offer the perfect entryway into the main part of the studio. The doors were a way to pay homage to David’s family heritage in the jewelry business. His grandfather’s early jewelry boxes were made of blue satin. Every time David sees that color, he remembers his grandfather and their company’s humble beginnings. These entry doors and other blue accents incorporated in the studio provide the vintage nostalgia David desired, and definitely don’t go unnoticed.


From the light fixtures that mimic different cuts of diamonds to the aforementioned upholstered doors, the attention to detail in the studio immediately informs clients and jewelry designers that D.C. Johnson, Ltd. recognizes quality. Exclusive jewelry designers like Nikos Koulis, Melissa Kaye, Andrea Fohrman, and Erika Winters, who are typically only represented in boutiques in major cities, seen David’s commitment to quality and have confidently partnered with him; making their jewelry available to Midwest clients without having to fly to a major city.

Clients see the high level of design in both the jewelry and the space, leading to a genuine excitement to tell others about this experience. This organic word of mouth advertising has led to a tremendous increase in referral business. D.C. Johnson, Ltd. delivers only the best, and that’s apparent to people as soon as they step foot into the studio.

Andrea Fohrman Initial Pendants.jpg
Nikos Koulis Ruby Blk Enamel Earrings.jpg
Melissa Kaye- Cristina Earring Yellow gold diamond 3 sizes v2.jpeg

Photos courtesy of Erika Winters (top left), Andrea Fohrman (top right), Nikos Koulis (bottom left), and Melissa Kaye (bottom right).


One way this was achieved was by eliminating the intimidating feeling present in traditional jewelry stores, with clients on one side of the jewelry case and jewelers on the other. For the untraditional way D.C. Johnson, Ltd. presents jewelry and watches to their clients, the final design of the studio yielded an even better backdrop than expected. 

The four camel colored leather swivel chairs and the shagreen coffee table in the center of the studio play a pivotal role in preventing this common intimidation. This furniture placement creates an intimate, circular space where David and his team can interact with clients while they try on jewelry. Here, clients often feel as if they have been welcomed into the living room of a home; a connection and mood that cannot be duplicated in a traditional jewelry store design.


One of Esra’s favorite elements of the studio is the bar. The combination of dark wood and furniture throughout the space create a masculine and traditional feel. The bar, however, is clean and modern, showcasing open shelves constructed with metal and glass by Mark Metalworks. These shelves paired with an extended countertop, rather than backsplash, create a focal point for the space. In front of this bar sit the jewelry cases (which required more work than initially expected).


Crimson had never designed jewelry cases before, so creating these pieces to house jewelry from world-class designers was a newchallenge. To ensure that they’d appropriately showcase the jewelry, we chose to use simple custom displays. Conducting the research necessary to design the inlaid case lighting was particularly challenging. While this research took substantial time, the hard work resulted in beautiful displays for D.C. Johnson, Ltd.’ s gems.


In addition to the shop’s real jewels, the studio features a different kind of hidden gem: the bridal room. Esra mentioned in our previous blog that this was the space she was most excited for. This room is by far the most feminine space within the studio. The light colors and creamy wallpaper grounded by custom parquet floors result in the bright, airy elegance that every bride deserves. 


“From the beginning, Cheryl and her team understood that I wanted to do something totally different and unique. They brought in the perfect juxtaposition of masculine and feminine and a level of sophistication no one else could. They were on target with options that not only met the aesthetic I had in mind but also fulfilled our needs for conducting day to day business.”

— David Johnson, Founder


David and his brother Brian, the Master Goldsmith

In the studio, there aren’t permanent rows of display cases housing jewelry. Instead, we created a flexible space incorporating fixtures that quickly convert a display of various pieces into a display of only diamonds, or to a display featuring items from a specific designer. This is important not only because appointments are encouraged, but because it completely transforms the buying experience to a personal, custom process where D.C. Johnson, Ltd. can cater each experience to the customer’s interests.


Photos courtesy of David Johnson

Esra and David are thoroughly pleased with how the boutique embodies the appreciation for detail and personality of D.C. Johnson, Ltd. Although there were some delays resulting in a longer renovation, it was well worth the wait!

If you are interested in learning more about the studio and the designers they represent, check out D.C. Johnson, Ltd.’s Instagram where you can see examples of fine designs and inquire about stopping into the studio!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see more examples of unique designs resulting in exclusive experiences!


All photos courtesy of Reagen Taylor Photography unless otherwise noted.

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