By Ray Van Dusen / Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – It’s rare that nationally-acclaimed jewelry artisan Ronaldo makes a public appearance. A stop Saturday at Monogram Magic by BB was one of the eight he averages each year.
“People have driven in from as far away as 200 miles mainly through word of mouth and Facebook. It really helps put Aberdeen and Monroe County on the map while adding to the tax base,” said owner Robin Bounds.
The two met at market years ago where Ronaldo coached her to carrying his high-end line of jewelry, even though she had her doubts as a small town independent contractor.
Years later, he is on the verge of starting his own television network after dabbling with QVC and she’s working with him in turning the store into a franchise.
“What drew me to Robin is that she’s deeply religious. My company is very faith-based and with that, I like to help businesses on the cusp of going to the next level. I’ve dealt with the corporate markets that are all about profit and I’ve dealt with the small businesses that are about love, friends and hope,” Ronaldo said.
He recognized the potential and unique appeal of the Aberdeen store and is taking it under his wings.
“One of my businesses teaches business owners how to expand to an initial two or four more stores in the right locations. It may be a process spread over a few years, but we’re in the works of making it happen,” Ronaldo said.
The jewelry designer met with Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant in Jackson Thursday to give her the “Hope” bracelet he designed for breast cancer awareness since she’s an advocate in the fight against the disease. Profits from the bracelet’s sales go directly for breast cancer research.
While in Jackson, he also met with Gov. Phil Bryant in regards to his line of jewelry being the target of counterfeiters.
“If the price seems too good to be true, it’s probably a sham. If you’re caught selling counterfeit jewelry, you will face fines. I’m so passionate in the fight against counterfeiters because it rips off the public and hurts legitimate stores since my company carries a lifetime warranty,” Ronaldo said.
One piece staying exclusively in Aberdeen until the spring is “Bella,” a bracelet named in honor of Bounds’ two-year-old granddaughter.
“She is my first-born grandchild and my only granddaughter. There’s something special about a first-born grandchild and there’s especially something special with this piece of jewelry,” Bounds said.
Bella ironically means beautiful.
Of the 350 locations carrying Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, 92 are located in Mississippi and Alabama.