It all started with a job interview—but not like you might think. Sue Roselund just celebrated 40 years at Grader’s Jewelers in Groton, and her story is one of sheer serendipity.
“After working for several years at the Mystic Seaport [Museum], I decided I wanted a career,” says Sue. “I’d worked in the jewelry department there and really loved it. Since I was an only child and grandchild, my grandmother always bought me really good jewelry, not costume, so I had a great love of jewelry.
After Sue decided to find a career, she started looking in earnest and came across an ad that sounded promising. She showed it to one of her coworkers who told her it was probably selling vacuum cleaners.
“I didn’t want to do that, but I went to the interview and asked them right up front if this job was selling vacuum cleaners,” she chuckles. “They said no, so I filled out all the paperwork for my new job. Then they took me into the office and—there were the vacuum cleaners! I didn’t stay.”
On her way back to the Seaport, she decided to stop by Grader’s Jewelers in Groton. “I introduced myself and Mr. Grader wrote my name and number on a little scrap of paper,” Sue says. “I was sure it would hit the trash can by the time I reached the door.” She smiles widely. “That was 40 years ago.”
Owner Mark Grader can’t say enough good things about this long-time employee. “Sue is outstanding and a real treasure. We value relationships, and Sue makes fabulous relationships. She’s just so open and so passionate about what she does.”
Sue says her favorite part of her job is remounting. “I love it when people bring several pieces in and I have to figure out what to do with them,” she says. “Sometimes people are tired of what they have and want to remodel it. I love doing that.”
One favorite remounting project was a pair of earrings from the 1950s. “They were the ugliest things you ever saw in your life,” she says, smiling. “All the diamonds were in a swirl around a large aquamarine, and the earrings were huge, about two inches.” The customer wanted a ring, so Roselund came up with a design which placed the diamonds on the sides to complement the square aquamarine in the center. “It was such a pretty stone that we didn’t think it was real in the beginning,” she says. “We tested to be sure. And the earrings were platinum, so it was good stuff —but ugly.”
Roselund has earned multiple expert certifications through the Gemological Institute of California, in diamonds, colored stones, jewelry, and retailing, and she applies her skill to every project she undertakes.
“Sue is so good at remounting and redesigning,” says Grader. “She’s the type of person who can envision the possibilities and not be restrained by some of the structural things I might consider. There’s a real joy in that.”
Roselund’s work over the years has offered fun and creative challenges. She recalls a remounting project that was unusual, to say the least. “I remounted a piece of plastic once,” she smiles. “The owner wanted the faux centerpiece in a ring. We set it in gold—but it was plastic.” Another time, a gentleman with large hands came into the store and wanted a ring. “He had huge fingers and we didn’t have a ring sizer large enough, so I used an earring.”
The joy of her job is clear as Roselund speaks of the years she’s spent at Grader’s. “I’ve waited on couples. Then I’ve waited on their children, and now I’m waiting on their grandchildren, mostly for engagement rings,” she says. “That’s the enjoyment. Over they years, I’ve come to know them like family.”
Grader Jewelers has three locations, in Groton, Waterford and Norwich. For more information, call 860-445-8767 or visit www.gradergems.com. For fun news on new products, offers, and other happenings, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.