Fifteen years ago, I was getting ready to graduate from college when I met L'Mont Betz, son of Glenn Betz, one of the Midwest's most respected jewelers. He needed help with his growing new venture in Columbia, Mo. I had an interest in the business and, like most new grads, I needed a job. He told me that if I liked the work, he'd teach me everything he could about jewelry. The Betz's taught me the art of jewelry and placing customer service ahead of profit.

We built the Columbia business into a very successful operation, and what started out as a short-term job right out of school turned into a calling, a true passion to help people mark the important moments in their lives. To this day, nothing makes me feel quite as good as the look on someone's face when they buy their first diamond.

My wife Michelle and I moved back to St. Louis in 2000 to work and learn in the company's St. Louis flagship store. One of the many things I had the opportunity to do with the Betz organization was computerizing the operation. I have always had a real interest in technology, and as I went about bringing the store online, I began to see how I could incorporate technology into the jewelry business to create something really unique.

With the St. Louis and Columbia operations running smoothly, I had come to the point where I needed to strike out on my own and put my theories in motion. The result is what you see here-DKPJ.

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