Joden World Resources

Antique Estate & Modern Jewelry

A Multi-Faceted Businessman – Jewelry, Gems and Joe Murawski

By Sherris Moreira-Byers - Views & Voices JUNE 2009

Joe Murawski
Joe Murawski, owner of Joden World Resources located in Grove City, standing in his office.
photo by Amy Kelly

SOMETIMES IN OUR LIVES, WE FACE A CHOICE, AND THE OUTCOME OF OUR DECISION BECOMES A PIVOTAL TURNING POINT IN OUR LIVES. When Joe Murawski graduated from high school, he faced that choice. With offers of full sport scholarships to the schools of his choice, he instead chose another path. And in the words of poet Robert Frost, that has made all the difference. The 59-year-old recalls that point in his life when the choice he made put him on the path to where he is today. “My father was a somewhat renowned bench jeweler in the New Castle area, but it was done almost exclusively for other jewelers,” Joe said. “In fact, at one point, he did the repair work for all the jewelry stores in New Castle.” Joe grew up working the bench with his father while he was in high school and though he had been offered scholarships in sports “to almost any school I wanted ... at the last minute, I decided it wasn’t what I wanted.” He instead decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue the study of gemology in California.

Joe came back a year later to New Castle after getting his degree as a gemologist – which meant getting educated in gem identification and geology, among other things – and within a few months, purchased his own jewelry store business in Grove City with friend Dennis Main in 1970. Thus the business name of Joden was created. “I was only 19 at the time,” he said. “I had advice from my dad and his suppliers of goods. It was almost exclusively retail sales. We sold all kinds of stuff – stereos, giftware, but it never worked out for us. Very shortly, we moved to jewelry.”

Citing money troubles and their inexperience, he and his partner, who was only a few years older, eventually parted ways with Joe buying out Dennis’ share of the business within five years. “It was a small business and new and the two of us were trying to make a living out of it,” he said, adding that they are still friends to this day.

Fabergé Blue Enamel Pill Box, circa 1885

A peek inside the Museum Case -Fabergé Blue Enamel Pill Box, circa 1885

Commissioned by England as the jeweler to the Russian Imperial Court, the role of jeweler Carl Fabergé was to promote good relationships between England and Russia. Though most famous for creating Fabergé eggs for the likes of Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II, which are considered the best jewelry creations in the world according to Joe, Fabergé also created other pieces such as belt buckles, cigar holders and boxes. “He was far more known for boxes and Easter eggs,” Joe said. “He did some jewelry but it was limited. This piece is rather large and a very beautiful, authentic engraved silver pill box. Though his items are not something we have a lot of in the store, we do have more than one piece of Fabergé.”

Joe also received marketing support from a supplier who mentored him through the early years as he learned how to run a successful business. “Every day, I had to call him for 20 minutes,” Joe said. “We would talk about anything. One day it was inventory control. One day it was gold watches. That went on for 20 years.” A dozen years after the mentoring began, Joe was able to purchase his mentor’s business and hire him. Around the same time, Joe also started to expand into the wholesale business and traveled to England with his mentor to meet his suppliers. But there were still lessons to be learned, like in 1986 when he was robbed in Beverly Hills and lost “a significant amount” because he was underinsured. He learned from those hard lessons and watched as his education in the hard knocks of business began to pay off...

Part II

Joden World Resources, 144 South Broad Street, Grove City, PA 16127 800-747-7552 Email us

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