In s p i re d B y L i f e skills developed in metals, chemicals and electricity have been invaluable in creating fine jewelry. Throughout college he worked on Rodeo Drive and became well known by Hollywood dignitaries and Beverly Hills elite. “My customers included Liberace, Christie Brinkley, George Hamilton, Danny Thomas’ family, Liza Minelli, and Cybil Sheppard just to name a few. My favorite was Dick Van Dyke. He was a nice man.” When Ali got tired of the noise of LA, he packed up and moved to a cabin in Tahoe.
shop in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. “I did some work for Bill Spring in San Luis. He wanted to retire and spend time with his lovely wife.” Spring was in his eighties and was well respected by customers who came to his Broad Street shop. “They would thank me for continuing the business.” Ali always has a smile, a story if you have time, and an answer to fixing a watch or clock not keeping time. The shop has wall-to-wall clocks from every age and his display cases have jewelry or watches for purchase.
He is intimately familiar with everything in the shop. One insight Ali shared was that premier self-winding watches, like a Rolex or Breitling, must be worn regularly by owners and given lots of wrist action. “They lose time if not active with sharp, yet gentle movements,” Ali said. “If the watch isn’t moving enough, it will lose time.” These watches need to be refurbished about every five years. That might cost up to $500, but then the original watch probably cost up to $10,000.
Customers quickly found him there. He opened shops in Squaw Valley and Incline Village. One of his suppliers paid his way for three years to study at the Gemological Institute of America, where he received a certificate in 2003. “I am one of only 150 in America that have the certificate and I have honed my skills since then learning about diamonds and other stones, gold refining and the many colors of gold and alloys.” Zak followed him from Tahoe to Santa Barbara. “I followed a lady. She didn’t work out, but Zak stayed. I think he likes my cooking.” One of Ali’s hobbies is cooking, especially “… Persian Hippie food…healthy vegetables,” he added. For a time, Ali maintained a
Living Lavishly Vol. 9 showcases the local resources, talent and expertise we have here in the Central Coast of California.