A rock-solid business: Karten family making jewelry in region since 1945

Jeff Mucciarone

What began as the Karten family’s side project has become one of the most successful jewelry stores in the area.

“It’s more than I ever thought it would be,” said Louis Karten, owner of the Diamond Vault located in the Village Shoppes at Cobb Corner in Canton.

The glassed front of the Diamond Vault gives patrons a clear view into the jewelry store’s showroom. It also gives people a view of the store’s jeweler working on repairs or designs right in the store, providing customers with a chance to see their items worked on.

Business for the Diamond Vault is vibrant and busy, especially with Christmas just days away.

“We’re trending way ahead of last year,” said Karten, who lives in Sharon.

Karten Jewelers sold their 20 jewelry showrooms, which were dispersed about New England, in 1995 to Zales, so that it could begin to focus more on manufacturing. The Karten family has been manufacturing jewelry since 1945.

Even with the success of the Diamond Vault, Karten said his company is about 90 percent manufacturing. But the more manufacturing they do, the more options the Diamond Vault can display.

The manufacturing side supplies jewelry to several major retailers and to do so it needs to show the retailers a huge array of jewelry, knowing the retailer will likely only bite for select items. The remaining pieces end up in the Diamond Vault. Naturally, when items sell well out of the store, they manufacture more, Karten said, so it’s not like a typical factory outlet where the store only gets leftovers. If something works, they’ll make it for the store, Karten said.

The large-scale design occurs either in Karten’s factory in Hong Kong or in the United States facility. The two factories produce more than 5,000 new designs each year, Karten said.

The Diamond Vault carries everything jewelry buffs would expect to see but also carries unusual and unique styles and designs. The store carries many items that are one of a kind but also makes sure to have on hand more mainstream items. Likewise, the store, which is located between Ann Taylor and the Gap, caters to any financial demographic as it carries pieces under $100 and pieces as much as $75,000.

“We have a whole range,” Karten said. “And we’re just as happy with either.”

When the store first opened in November 2004, it sat next to the Canton Club at Cobb Corner but it took less than a year for Karten and his staff to realize the shop, which was about a quarter the size of its current location, needed a bigger venue since it had so much to display.