Louis Smith spent nearly a decade researching the jewelry business before he opened Smithworks Fine Jewelry in 1988. It is that sort of unyielding focus on getting things exactly right that has defined his business in the 29 years since.

<p>Founder Louis Smith</p>

Today, Smith plies his trade in a store hailed as one of the finest the industry has to offer anywhere in the country. Customers know well his reputation as a custom jewelry designer and an expert gemologist. What they may not know is the road to this point started in Santa Monica, Calif., where, as a college student on a quest for knowledge, Smith found his life's passion.

It was there, in an independent study program in jewelry in 1979, that Smith developed a love for fine gemstones and diamonds. After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wofford College in 1982, Smith spent six years working in his family's music business. It was also during this time that Smith meticulously researched the jewelry industry's best companies as he steadily prepared to fulfill his dream.

By the time Smithworks opened in 1988, all the hard work had paid off, the store carried the finest lines in the industry, and Smith quickly established himself as an innovative designer. A good listener who hears what people need and always gets it right, Smith quickly built a reputation as a problem-solver and the best choice for repairs and custom work.

As times have changed, those hallmarks of Smith's character have not. His continual zest for learning has never wavered. In 2001, he joined the American Gem Society, an international organization widely recognized as a leader in the jewelry industry for its dedication to continuing education. He was accredited by the AGS as a registered jeweler that same year, and, in 2004, he was accredited as a graduate gemologist and Certified Gemologist®.

In 2007, Smith joined the American Gem Society’s Board of Directors. In 2014, he was named president of the AGS International Board of Directors. In 2016, Smith was recognized at the American Gem Society’s Annual Conclave for his years of dedication to the AGS and its Board of Directors. Always one to serve the industry, his current role with AGS is as head of a special search committee formed to find a new CEO for the AGS and AGS Laboratories.

Likewise, his meticulous planning and attention, and his willingness to embrace change, can be seen in the 5,000-square-feet store in downtown Spartanburg. Years in the planning, the state-of-the-art space is unlike any in the area, from its high-tech lighting to its bamboo flooring.

Smith remains focused on continuing to meet all his customers' needs and on surpassing their expectations. After almost 30 years, it's the only way he's ever done business, and the only way he knows how.

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