On nearly any business day, Eric Molinari can be found at his workbench, peering through spectacles to set stones with tweezers in the back room of his Plandome Road jewelry store.
Molinari has worked as a jeweler for over 50 years, having begun his career as an apprentice in Cedarhurst before opening Molinari Jewelers in Manhasset in June of 1990, across from Mary Jane Davies Green.
While Tina, his wife of 40 years, works the shop’s counters, which are full of items sporting sterling silver and pearls, Molinari works in the back, where his station includes two work benches, polishing equipment and a stove to clean jewelry.
Services at Molinari Jewelers range from cleaning and repairs to full-scale, custom jewelry design. Molinari says most of his customers return once they have come once.
“They come back, and their word of mouth brings more people in,” Molinari said. “If the service is good, then you’re all set.”
While the store mainly deals in services, Molinari says, they have learned what to stock over the years.
“I sell a lot of sapphires, a lot of tennis bracelets,” Molinari said. “Now it’s more budget-friendly, simpler. That’s what people are buying.”
For Molinari, his favorite part of the job is working on customized pieces, which marks when he gets a chance to showcase creativity, craft and skill.
“I make pieces, and once they sell, I never make it again,” Molinari said. “There’s a lot of that, that you won’t see anywhere else.”
Custom pieces are a specific point of pride, Molinari says.
“I sketch them with a designer, make sure we’ve laid them out right, then we call the client in, make any adjustments we need to, and then we clean them up and send them on their way,” Molinari said.
Molinari and his wife live in Woodmere, but he says they are grateful for the clients and the local business community.
“Manhasset’s been good to us,” Molinari said.