By Keith W. Strandberg
As the owners of Jaes Jewelers, Coral Gables oldest jewelry store, the Hornik family is deeply proud of its Florida rootsand they are quick to tell you all about them. When my grandfather, George Hornik, came back from World War II he went to watchmaking school in Colorado on the GI Bill, Jennifer Hornik-Johnson nostalgically beams. After graduation, he and his wife opened his first store in Miami in 1945, and they moved to Coral Gables shortly after. Weve been in this location since 1956.
Part of the third generation of Horniks operating the store, Hornik-Johnson says what she loves most is how her job is much more than selling diamond and gold. I like being a part of something momentous in peoples lives, she says. We help mark important occasions in many families and that is a special thing for us.
Something else thats remained special? The stores name itself. Bruce Hornik, son of the founder and Hornik-Johnsons father, named all of his children with names that start with the letter J: Jennifer, Jason and Jillian. Hornik-Johnson is following in similar steps: her daughter is named Gia, after the Gemological Institute of America (acronym, GIA) the training school she attended after graduating from the University of Florida and where she met her husband, who now also works in the family business. Indeed, the entire family remains active at the store, from dad to daughters. And now theres even a fourth generation, says Hornik-Johnson. My own daughter.