Celebrating 32 Years of Fine Jewelry Design
By Edita McQuary
On July 1, 2017 Scotts Valley’s William Clayton Greene Fine Jewelry Design will celebrate their 32nd anniversary with an open house and sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. William Clayton Greene Fine Jewelry Design is a true American success story. The family has been selling, designing, creating, and repairing jewelry since 1985. Willy’s father, Bill, and mother, Gena, opened the business in the Scotts Valley Shopping Center at this location. They survived the Baskin-Robbins flood of 1991 and have seen the transition of the business to William Clayton Greene III and his fiancée, Lily Kingsley, in 2015.
In telling his father’s story, Willy said that his father grew up poor in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but like so many people, came to California to try his luck at a better life. He met Gena, who at the time was a commercial artist. The two made a great couple: Bill was a self-taught master of anything he put his hand to from car engines to jewelry, Gena had an eye for beauty, quality and uniqueness. With Bill’s mechanical inclination and Gena’s creative talent, they were the perfect team.
Since Willy was a boy, he was at his father’s workbench, learning and doing. There is a photo of him at age seven wearing safety goggles while changing a watch battery. Scotts Valley folks have seen him as a teenager skateboarding up and down the street in front of his parents’ store.
Throughout Willy’s younger years, it looked like a career in sports, specifically ice hockey, was in his future. From childhood on he had spent 16 years playing ice hockey and was drafted by the San Jose Blades as well as the San Jose Jr. Sharks. His parents wholeheartedly supported his sports career and toured with him to Italy, Bulgaria, Japan and England. After high school he moved to Minnesota. He was drafted by two colleges and was granted scholarships. It looked like hockey was going to be his career choice. His parents were pleasantly surprised when he turned down the scholarships and decided to follow in the family tradition and become a professional jeweler.
In 2011 when Bill was diagnosed with cancer, Willy took over the business and continued to learn all he could from the best teacher he could have ever had, his dad. His father outlived the doctors’ estimated prediction by four years so Willy had a chance to help his parents run the business. Willy learned his trade by sitting at the bench beside his dad and mastering the art of making and designing jewelry. He still loves working at the bench creating and repairing jewelry – that is his joy.
Lily, fiancée and partner in the business, and Willy are Santa Cruz County locals that go back to Branciforte Middle School and Harbor High. Lily has a Business Management degree from San Francisco State and has been their business manager since 2015. They plan to marry in 2018. In their spare time they like to hike and take Jett, their 9-year old Pomeranian and “partner” in the business, for walks in the woods.
Jett has been with Willy since he was a few months old. Jett’s dad, Turbo, was the family’s first Pomeranian. Jett’s mom belongs to a customer. According to Lily, “Jett comes to work with us every day and has many responsibilities. He is a greeter, security guard, and head of the HR department :). He loves it when his human friends stop by to give him treats and pets. He’s always excited to see his dog friends, too.”
William Clayton Greene Fine Jewelry Design sells designer engagement rings by Parade Designs, colorful gemstone jewelry by multiple designers and sterling silver, gold and platinum pieces. If you can’t find what you like in the store, Willy will be happy to create it or help you create your own design. He is an expert in hand fabricated, lost wax casting, cad cam art, and laser welding.
William Clayton Greene Fine Jewelry Design is located at 245 Mount Hermon Road, Scotts Valley, CA 95066. Telephone: 831.438.1844. Website: www.santacruzgold.com
Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. closed Sunday & Monday