About JTI Diamond Co.
Owner and GIA certified gemologist, Jim Turner, has been in the diamond and jewelry business for more than 35 years. Turner and his family are certified GIA Alumni to ensure customers an educated and knowledgeable experience. JTI Diamond Co. is an exclusive dealer for Prima Diamonds, also features certified loose diamonds, engagement rings, custom jewelry, gemstones, luxury watches, gold and silver fashion jewelry. We offer custom jewelry design with 3D Jewelry Design CAD software. Because we have a designer and jewelers on site we have the ability and flexibility to create extraordinary pieces within our store. We also offer jewelry repair and watch services with our professional jeweler and watchmaker on premise. Our friendly and knowledgeable GIA Graduate Gemologist family staff can help assist you in choosing a diamond with a microscope and the essentials of diamond grading. Read about our extraordinary A+ customer service and reviews on BBB.org. For more information or inquires, please contact us.
NSIDE MAGAZINE: JIM TURNER
Jim Turner didn’t inherit his business, or start it with a trust fund from his parents. Jim Turner is exactly who we have in mind when we refer to someone as ‘self-made’. Growing up in the low-income area of Dallas known as Oak Cliff, Jim Turner was not given the early advantages offered to many of our most successful businesspeople. Rather, he took what he had, and truly made the best of it. Now the owner of a successful diamond retailer, as well as a blossoming energy beverage company, Jim Turner has made lemonade from his humble beginnings. He lost his father when he was only 9 years old. Despite the absence of a father, and the financial struggles he endured, Turner worked hard, and graduated valedictorian of his class. He was also recognized as one of the most outstanding high school students in Dallas. His accomplishments captured the attention of Mr. Ben Lipshy, chairman of the Zales Corporation. Lipshy offered the 16 year-old Turner a job at one of his stores, as well as a college scholarship. Turner had initially considered pursuing a legal career, but was side-tracked by his initiation into the jewelry business. He notes, “before I went to the jewelry store, I didn’t know what a ruby, or an emerald, or a Rolex was.” After college, Turner moved to Dallas and went to work at a jewelry store in Valley View Mall. “I was so poor, I had to borrow coats to wear to work,” Turner says with pride. At that location, Turner endured a manager who wouldn’t allow him on the sales floor, most likely based on Turner’s ethnicity. Instead, the manager restricted him to silver-polishing duty.One day, while the manager was away, the assistant manager allowed Jim Turner to sell. In the few hours he was on the sales floor, he did over $7,000 in sales. Rather than thanking Turner for his contribution, the manager threatened to fire Turner for being on the sales floor. Turner took the matter straight to the Zales chairman, Mr. Lipshy, who promptly shipped the manager to a less notable location, and sent Turner to the Republic Bank location, one of the most affluent in Dallas.Though he was one of the top earners, Turner was denied a managerial position for a new location in Austin. Threatening to quit, the administration offered him a position as manager of the Hertzberg Jewelers location in San Antonio. He moved to San Antonio, making him the first black manager of a Zales Guild Division location, as well as the first black graduate of a gemological school. At his San Antonio location, he earned Manager of the Year for his impressive sales.He attempted to start a store of his own, but as he says, “I just lacked the details of running a business.” But he has most certainly learned them along the way. He went back to working in a jewelry store until March of 1991, when he opened JT International. Turner says that “JTI is the best kept secret in diamonds,” and that might be why he has never needed to advertise. This best-kept secret has sold diamonds to such San Antonians as Tim Duncan, Sean Elliott and the Benson family.The success of JTI is connected to its motto, which says, “Now you have a friend in the diamond business.” And that’s exactly how Turner views his work. As Turner points out, “Treat the customer right, give them a fair price, and you’ll have a customer and friend for life.” JTI is doing swimmingly, with Turner planning a move to a new location in the comely Park North development at 410 and San Pedro. He has also established a partnership with Prima Diamonds, a premier dealer of top-shelf diamonds.Expanding his enterprise, Turner has developed a series of energy drinks, including Mozart’s, Cascabel and Shotgun. The current energy drink industry is primarily made up of beverages loaded with sugar, caffeine and little redeeming nutritional value. In stark contrast to these socially irresponsible and unhealthy beverages, Turner notes, “I would never get into a business that might hurt people. We need healthy options.” In pursuit of this healthy option for energy drinks, Jim Turner developed his drinks to be more metabolically balanced, and include valuable nutrients. The energy drink company, managed by Turner’s son, Jonathan, has enjoyed a terrific response. The drinks have been carried in HEB stores for some time, and are now available in 47 locations of Gabriel’s and Don’s & Ben’s retail stores in San Antonio and the surrounding areas, as well as San Marcos. The drinks have gained attention at such events as the Sturgis bike rally and an event in Las Vegas.Despite his success, Jim Turner remains a humble humanitarian. Since he traveled to Africa to learn about the rough diamond business, Turner has been passionate about giving back to the world. As he says, “there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, but you need to give back, too.” Traveling to Africa more than 80 times to 18 different countries, Turner has given his support to the US Agency for African Relief, helping with college tuitions, as well as other forms of aid.There are some interesting opportunities on the horizon for Jim Turner, as people increasingly turn to diamonds to hedge their investments. Also, his energy drink company is continuing efforts to expand its distribution in retail stores and other venues. We look forward to seeing more of Mr. Turner, and thank him for being our friend.
Courtesy of NSIDE Magazine