By Phil Klutts
January 18, 2022

Jewelry is a family affair with Silver Leaf Gems

Local jewelers Diana Pate, Sondra Reid, and Stephanie Carel share their family passion at Silver Leaf Gems.
Diana Pate, Sondra Reid, and Stephanie Carel run their family jewelry business Silver Leaf Gems. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

Downtown Edmond houses a fun and stylish shop that draws customers from all over Oklahoma and beyond. Just off Broadway, at 15 West Campbell Street, sits a little store with a lot of passion and beauty. Silver Leaf Gems is a family business run by mother Diana Pate and sisters Sondra Reid and Stephanie Carel. Silver Leaf Gems was officially formed in 2006, but the story begins a few years before that time.

Diane Pate making jewelry in the Silver Leaf Gems studio (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

The journey back to Edmond

Diana Pate began making jewelry as a hobby and as physical therapy after an accident in her then-home of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nurses and staff at the local hospital were some of the first customers to buy her jewelry, and the business quickly began to grow.

Diana’s daughter Sondra Reid decided to leave her general manager position at a restaurant and join her mother in the business, moving from Colorado to Arkansas to do so. They soon moved again, this time back to their Oklahoma roots, and opened The Bead Attic in Edmond in 2001. They sold jewelry-making beads and ready-made jewelry for a few years before selling The Bead Attic in 2005 to pursue a dream of designing jewelry on a full-time basis.

The mother-daughter duo moved to a private studio after selling The Bead Attic and quickly became known as Silver Leaf Gems through art festivals and trunk shows across the country. This is when the duo became a trio. Stephanie Carel ended a 20-year human resources career and joined her sister and mother in 2006 to complete the team that still runs the business today.

Silver Leaf Gems has been in their Downtown Edmond location since 2016. They sell both wholesale and direct-to-consumer retail in Edmond and through their website and social media following. Their wholesale business counts over 130 businesses across the United States.

A shift in direction

Over the course of twenty years, the business focus changed from the original concept at The Bead Attic.

“We started as a bead store, but people seemed to really enjoy our jewelry designs so we transitioned to that,” says Carel.

But Silver Leaf Gems is not only creating designs for retail customers. Wholesale, repairs, and redesigning also contribute significantly to the Silver Leaf Gems business. Redesigning old jewelry takes old pieces and makes them new again. Redesigns can come from old or mismatched jewelry or even vintage coins.

Handmade jewelry at the Silver Leaf Gems retail location in Edmond (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

“We can turn any of these into a cool new piece of jewelry.” Silver Leaf does all sorts of repairs and often does smaller repairs that other stores won’t take on. Diana is an expert and well-known for her ability to re-knot broken pearls. “This is a lost art and Diana is the best at it,” says Carel, speaking about pearl silk knotting.

Another major shift for the business, due to COVID, resulted in the website and social media taking over as primary distribution channels. Referral and walk-in business has always been a staple for the team at Silver Leaf but that all changed in the last couple of years.

“We had to rely on social media and our website,” says Carel, “Without those, I am not sure we would have survived.”

Family, fun, and philanthropy

Inside the Silver Leaf Gems studio, fun and business go hand-in-hand, although sometimes the business side of things is challenging. Being a small business owner means keeping up with the day-to-day tasks that seem especially hard after a 10-hour workday of helping customers.

“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Carel. Things can get a little crazy in the workroom after 15+ hour days. Throwing baby carrots, spilling beads, and crazy-looking necklaces are all part of the fun for the trio.

Carel, Pate, and Reid are very intentional about supporting their community as well as running a business. They are known to be active in several nonprofits and community organizations including Downtown Edmond Business Association, Free to Live, Fostering Sweet Dreams, Salvation Army, Edmond Fine Arts Institute, Edmond Historical Preservation Trust, and many more. Carel was recently recognized for her ten years of service with the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust. Success for the Silver Leaf Gems team is about more than jewelry.

“Being there for our family, clients, friends, and community. If you can make those connections and make an impact that is worth more than anything in this world.”

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.