PEKIN — For the past 40 years, Vince and Hope Udry have shared in joyous occasions with their customers at their jewelry business. Now they are doing so in a new building.
Udry Jewelry recently moved from 1100 Derby St. to a new location at 1712 Court St. They will host a grand opening from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. During that time they will offer visitors Mexican food and margaritas. There will also be a drawing for a diamond bracelet.
Hope Udry said they decided to move because they did not own the previous building.
Once they purchased their new place, the Udrys got busy remodeling and redecorating. Vince did most of the construction and Hope did most of the decorating.
“I went to school for interior design,” she said.
She said her husband had to do a lot of demolition of the building. The transformation now includes jewelry display cases, a coffee bar and Vince’s artwork on the walls.
Vince’s creativity extends beyond painting; he is also a master jeweler who creates custom pieces. Vince learned from his father George, who was also a master jeweler — one who can make rings, set stones, repair jewelry and more.
“He and Vince opened the store on Derby Street a year after Vince got out of high school,” Hope said.
George retired in 1990 and Vince and his wife took over the business.
Hope has received many of her husband’s creations as gifts throughout the years.
“We’ve been married for 40 years; there’s been a lot,” she said.
One of Hope’s favorite pieces was created from her mother’s jewelry.
“He took all of my mom’s diamonds and set them all for me in a pendant. I have so many compliments on that,” Hope said.
Custom-designed pieces are a popular part of the Udrys’ business, Hope said.
“He can design. He’s really good at design (of jewelry),” Hope said. “That’s always been a big part of our business.”
A lot of people like to have a unique piece created from jewelry they inherit from family members, Hope said. Widows also like to have their husbands’ wedding rings made into pendants.
Engagement rings are the most popular items sold at Udry Jewelry. One option for customers is to browse through loose diamonds and choose the wedding mount they want.
“We sell a lot of stuff that’s different (than what) chain stores have,” Hope said, which includes diamond bracelets, pendants and earrings.
Some of the brands at Udry are Gabriel & Co., Carizza, Promezza, Elle, Piara and Angelica.
“Piara is a design line by Elaine. It’s 18-carat gold overlay of sterling that uses all natural stones. It’s very pretty. Elle is our sterling silver line,” she said.
They also sell Angelica stackable charm bracelets, class rings and watches.
“I like selling. It’s fun. We’re not high pressure. I have a coffee bar so a lot of times I have coffee with people,” Hope said.
Over four decades, the Udrys have shared in happy and sad moments with customers.
“It’s sad the first time the wives come in (after their husbands pass away),” Hope said.
Mostly though, she said, there are happy moments and happy stories, of engagements and surprises.
“It’s a fun business,” she said. “Pekin’s been good to us.”
For more information about Udry Jewelry, visit their Facebook page or call 347-8084.