Tag Archives: Italy

molina

Molina dazzles Arizona for 25 years

Alfredo J. Molina doesn’t care for pennies.

“Starting when I was a young boy, I learned the jewelry business from my grandfather,” Molina says. “He would take pennies and roll them out into a sheet because copper and gold have similar malleability. Every day after school, he would put me to work on the bench for four or five hours, learning how to make jewelry. He would find fault. He was a perfectionist, but I learned how to craft fine jewelry. But to say I have a strong dislike for pennies would not be an overstatement.”

From his humble beginning working with pennies, Molina has built an empire that rocked the jewelry world in 2012 when he sold the Archduke Joseph diamond – a 76-carat stone once owned by Archduke Joseph August of Austria – for $21.5 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for a colorless diamond. If you ask Molina how he went from working with pennies to becoming a record-setting diamond seller, he is quick to point to his lineage.

“I am an 11th-generation jeweler,” Molina says. “My ancestors were silversmiths in Milan, Italy, beginning in 1634.”

His family eventually landed in Cuba, where Molina was born in 1959, three months after the revolution. Molina’s father, Roberto, had built his own multi-million-dollar jewelry and gold empire in Cuba until Castro seized power along with the Molina family fortune.

Molina’s family fled Cuba in 1967. They landed in Chicago with no money, but a man — whom Molina has never been able to identify — selflessly bought the family food so they could survive. That single act, Molina says, inspired him to become philanthropist who has given away a staggering $30 million to more than 195 nonprofit organizations.

But earning those millions to give away didn’t come easy. After coming to Phoenix as a teenager to see his uncle and then staying, Molina set his sights on opening his own jewelry business. He opened Molina By Appointment Only at 13th Street and Missouri on Oct. 1987 with no money in the bank, no inventory, and $90,000 worth of furniture that he was only able to secure because he talked the furniture store owner into a “90 days same as cash” agreement.

“I had to call it ‘by appointment only’ because I didn’t have any inventory,” Molina says. “But what that did was set us apart. By having the customers make an appointment, it gave me time to talk with them, find out what they were looking for, and then I had time to source the merchandise and when they came in, I was able to present them options that gave them exactly what they wanted.”

In his first two months in business, Molina made more than $1 million and he quickly built a reputation as the go-to jeweler for those seeking the highest quality and craftsmanship.

“We are not just in the jewelry business,” says Molina, who is celebrating 25 years in business, “We are in the emotion business. We are about the experience of buying fine jewelry. We do everything within our power to make that experience unforgettable.”

Molina Fine Jewelers
3134 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
602-955-2055
molinafinejewelers.com

Girl reading book, Photo: Flickr, o5com

Intriguing Reads: Memoirs, Diaries And Biographies To Read

1.

The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

Author: Anne Frank

“Riches, prestige, everything can be lost. But happiness in your own heart can only be dimmed; it will always be there, as long as you live, to make you happy again.”

Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father and sole survivor of the family, recovered his daughter’s diary after the war from the small apartment above his old business, where they hid for over two years. The diary begins on June 12, 1942, Anne’s 13th birthday, and tells the story of her family and the Van Daan’s as they lived and hid in that small apartment with little contact with the outside world.

2.

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson

Author: Greg Mortenson

“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest.”

Three Cups of Tea is about adventure and philanthropy. Greg Mortenson, a mountaineer, finds himself in a remote village in Pakistani after losing his way and falling ill in 1993. After that, it became Mortenson’s mission to build them a school. It’s a compelling story and an effort to rid the region of poverty and bring education to the children in a fight against a warring world.

3.

Eat, Pray, Love

Eat Pray Love, Photo by 飞鱼Calibre

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

“You are after all what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

Many will immediately recognize this as “that movie that Julia Roberts was in.”  Elizabeth Gilbert, the character played by Roberts, is a real person though with a real story to tell. This book is an interesting blend of self-discovery and travel.

Gilbert is 32 years old when she begins her journey. She divorces her husband, enters into a relationship with another man, which doesn’t work out either, and then decides to take the next year to travel the world — four months in Italy to eat and enjoy life, four more in India developing her spirituality, and the remainder of the time in Bali trying to balance the two.

4.

Swallow The Ocean: A Memoir

Swallow The Ocean, Laura Flynn

Author: Laura Flynn

“People talk about how fast life can go from good to bad. How one day you’re happy, everything is going fine, and then something happens. Someone dies or someone leaves. There’s an illness or an accident. Life as you know it slips away. But it can go the other way too. You can go from god-awful to pretty OK in a single day. That’s what happened to us, and it was just as jarring.”


This memoir is about Laura Flynn’s life growing up with a paranoid schizophrenic mother. It takes the reader through the dread of having a parent who slowly becomes unhinged and what that can do to a family.  Flynn’s experience is one that readers are inspired by.

5.

Marley & Me

Marley & Me, John Grogan

Author: John Grogan

“He was a big, loving dope of a dog whose defense strategy against intruders would surely have been to lick them to death.”

Who doesn’t like a story about a dog? This true story of a lovable and unique canine, and how he changed a family, has warmed the hearts of many. John Grogan goes into details about life with a dog that any dog owner would find familiar, and yet Marley’s story stands out from the rest. He is a 97-pound Labrador Retriever that had more to teach Grogan and his family than they managed to teach his wild spirit.