by Kate McGregor
Talking with Joanna Rozanski, I was moved by her passion for Goldart Jewellery Studio, a family-owned and managed business she shares with parents Mark and Helen. In the summer of 2017 they will celebrate their 40th anniversary of being in business. In jewellery terms, that’s a ruby year.
Goldart opened its doors in the Glebe in late November 2016 in the stylish turn-of-the-century mansion vacated by Bucklands Fine Clothing at the corner of Bank Street and First Avenue. The Rozanskis love their new building, which they describe as their “forever home.” Before opening, they refinished the floors and installed “new old” radiators, a thoughtful reference to the rich history of the building. They also installed a glass wall to the workshop where the magic takes place.
Mark is a master setter; his specialty is setting gemstones. The day of my visit, I watched him at the bench creating a stunning diamond ring. Helen wears many hats including “front of house” and bookkeeping services. Joanna is vice president and lead designer. She carves in wax and designs with CAD/CAM software. At her desk on the gallery floor she showed me sketches of jewellery she had designed for customers, including several Art Nouveau and Art Deco-inspired pieces. A letter addressed to “Dear Future Customer,” rests on the window behind her chair and makes reference to the values that guide her artistry: “Our integrity and commitment to your joy is our pride.” At the bottom of the letter is a photo of her as a nine-year-old girl at the bench making jewellery. Joanna also oversees customer relations and marketing. Her brother Peter occasionally drops in to lend a hand.
While weaving slowly in and out of the 47 display cases in the spacious gallery, I was struck by the beauty of the one-of-a-kind pieces father and daughter have lovingly created, from engagement rings to wedding bands, necklaces, pendants, cuff links and earrings. The duo also specializes in custom hand-fabricated jewellery, rare unusual stones and top quality diamonds. In addition, they offer repairs, appraisals and free jewellery cleaning.
Parents Mark and Helen were both born in Poland and came to Canada at a young age. They met in Ottawa, married and had two children, Peter and Joanna. Mark started his career as a contractor providing jewellery repair services to businesses, with Helen acting as the delivery person. Goldart was founded in 1977 when the couple opened their first store at 323 Somerset Street West. Seventeen years later they moved to 117 Bank Street and remained there for almost 23 years until they re-located to the Glebe.
The Rozanskis have developed a loyal following of families over the years. As Joanna notes, “To see the next generation coming in is an amazing vote of confidence.” In addition to multi-generational customers, word of mouth has served Goldart well.
Joanna never doubted that the family business would be her path. Following a degree in Communications at the University of Ottawa she returned to Goldart on a full-time basis. She sees working in the Glebe as a bonus. She describes it this way: “I love the Glebe. It is one of the most dynamic neighbourhoods ever. People here are genuinely interested in what you’re doing; it’s like a hug from the community.” Although she doesn’t live in the Glebe, Joanna knows it well, having roamed the streets as a teenager with her best friend from high school who lived on Allan Place. She loves to shop locally and takes her standard poodle Mick to Purrdy Paws Pet Grooming Spa down the street. She is also a huge Sens supporter.
With the arrival of Goldart to the Glebe, shoppers now have the choice of three destinations for jewellery purchases and related services. Joanna welcomes the options available and feels strongly that community trumps competition.
As I wrapped up my interview and drove home, I thought about the hard work, devotion and commitment to customer relations that the Rozanskis bring to Goldart. I thought too about the family’s philosophy as Joanna showed me a unique, one-of-a-kind ring she had designed: “Every piece in this gallery has been custom made. It’s just waiting for the right person to choose it.”
Goldart Jewellery Studio Inc.
722 Bank Street
Hours of operation:
Monday – Friday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
(mid November – end of April)
Otherwise, by appointment: