Up Close & Personal – John Mays Jewelers

John W. Mays IV
Graduate Jeweler Gemologist (GIA)
John W. Mays III
Gemologist, (GIA)
Kathryn A. Mays
A.J.P. (GIA)
Kevin R. Mays, RJ
Graduate Jeweler Gemologist (GIA)

About John Mays Jewelers by John W. Mays III

John Mays Jewelers is a family owned and operated jewelry store that was founded in 1999. I got a taste of the jewelry business in 1969 as a young man and never looked back. I earned my Diamond degree in 1973 with help from the GI Bill, and learned the importance of education through Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Over the next years, I worked hard to earn my Gemologist title from GIA in 1992. Along the way, I also became interested in pocket watches and watch repair, and began repairing them at home, with the help of a friend. After thirty years of employment, I decided the time was right to open my own store in 1999.

Since then, we have hand selected everything in our store. We have been a proud supporter of Hearts On Fire diamonds since we began our business and have founded our store on selling Hearts On Fire A.G.S. Ideal Cut diamonds. We are a member of the American Gem Society and are all GIA alumni. I instilled in my family that education is what has led to my success.

My wife Kathryn and both our sons, John and Kevin, have degrees from GIA. When we started designing the new store (we moved to a new location on Rogers Avenue in October) we wanted it to feel as warm and welcoming as our home would be if you stopped by. We look forward to seeing all of the familiar faces we have seen for years as well as meeting new customers and starting traditions with their families.

We invite you all to join us for our Chamber Ribbon Cutting and giveaway, on November 17th from 4:00pm – 6:00pm.



Q&A with John W. Mays III

Words to live by or favorite quote:

Never stop learning.

Your business is a family affair. What’s the best thing about having your family in business with you?

When you have all of your family working together, everyone has a common interest. John Mays Jewelers is our family legacy and something we’re proud to pass on to our sons. We’ve all worked very hard together to achieve the common goal of making our business a success.

Is there anything difficult about spending so much time with your family?

As with any business, there are day-to-day obstacles to overcome, but we are a family and family comes first. Our business is nothing more than an extension of our home. Working with our family every day has come to be routine and a way that we can spend more time together.

When did you know your sons wanted to join John Mays Jewelers?

From Day One we knew they wanted to be a part of the business, but as with any growing new business, the timing had to be right to have everyone here. We are proud that we were able to send both of our sons to Carlsbad, California, to earn their Graduate Jeweler degrees from Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Since then, both John and Kevin have become Graduate Gemologists as well. Kevin has now achieved his Registered Jeweler from the American Gem Society. We are honored to be a part of this wonderful organization.

What makes you most proud about John Mays Jewelers?

The accomplishments we’ve achieved in the jewelry industry as a family, for being a new store, and for how long we’ve been in business, make us proud. We have always strived to provide our customers with the finest quality merchandise. We are firm believers in education and are proud that we all have a foundation from Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

How will your family spend Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a time for our family to catch our breath and relax as the holiday retail season gets into full swing. We have a simple tradition of a good, home-cooked family meal, followed by us relaxing by the fireplace (weather permitting) and watching the movie, Christmas Vacation.

Christmas is just around the corner. What do you anticipate to be your biggest sellers?

The biggest seller is always our Hearts On Fire diamonds. They are called “the world’s most perfectly cut diamond” for a reason, and it definitely shows to everyone who sees them. Jay Strongwater giftware is a big hit with just about everyone, and, of course, Tag Heuer and Shinola timepieces hit a homerun with men.

What do you love most about living in Fort Smith?

We love this area and all the seasons this part of the country provides. The whole family was raised here, and actually, all went to the same junior high, Darby, and Northside High School. We have a relationship with the community, by having grown up here, that can’t be acquired any other way. On any given day, one of us generally knows or went to school with a customer that walks into our store. We like that about Fort Smith.

You recently moved your store to a new location on Rogers Avenue. What was the hardest part of the move?

By far, figuring out the layout and design of the structure. The new store had to equal the quality and craftsmanship we’re known for. Everything had to line up just right, and fit just so, to make it all come together the way we dreamed it would.

Generations of families buy jewelry from you. What do you think makes them return to your store?

Relationships are built on trust. The quality of our product, our integrity, as well as the knowledge of our products, provided by our education at Gemological Institute of America (GIA), has helped build that solid foundation. This month marks my forty-eighth year in the jewelry industry, and I believe the knowledge I’ve accumulated over that time has helped me select quality products that our store is known for.

What’s the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?

The most sentimental piece of jewelry I own is my wedding band that I have been wearing for forty-eight years. My favorite piece of jewelry would be the first custom ring I made for myself with all Hearts On Fire diamonds.

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