BY VEENA RAO
2179, Lawrenceville Highway
Decatur, GA 30033
Phone: (404) 321-4334 , (678) 491-1837
What sets this jewelry store apart from the others in
Atlanta is its focus on every day and giftware items. Owned
and managed by Atlanta couple Dharmesh and Sammy Bhura,
Veeraj Jewelers is conveniently located in the strip that
houses Saravana Bhavan in Decatur.
“We have created a niche in fine everyday and gift jewelry,”
says Dharmesh. “The whole jewelry industry is turning gift
oriented. We combine traditional styles with contemporary
concepts to offer the maximum choice in this segment- with
prices starting from just $35.”
Their inventory is in keeping with the trends of the times,
“The trend these days is finer pieces set in white gold.
Nothing too heavy or yellow. Antiques and diamonds are in.”
Dharmesh and Sammy set shop in Atlanta in 2000 after moving
here from England. Both come from a family of jewelers, with
roots in Africa. He was born in Kenya and she in Uganda.
Both families moved to England where they continued their
jewelry trade in wholesale and manufacturing. The couple got
into retail business in 1992 with the opening of their first
store in England.
They soon realized that the market was oversaturated in
England. There were logistical problems - like difficulty in
finding parking space. Also, most of their clients were from
America. It made sense for the Bhuras to move to the US.
There were just four jewelry shops when Dharmesh and Sammy
opened shop in Atlanta. Now there are eight stores. But the
Indian population has also grown significantly in the
period, says Dharmesh.
While close to 70% of their clientele are from the Gujarati
community, the Bhuras insist that they do not limit
themselves to any one community. Many of their customers are
from the neighboring states of Florida, Alabama and the
Apart from fine jewelry, Veeraj stocks silver puja items,
and trendy silver jewelry. The Bhuras’ repertoire also
includes custom-made jewelry.
“We have the talent and the machines to custom make jewelry
to our client’s specifications,” says Dharmesh, “Not many
jewelers can boast of having a full fledged workshop at the
store premises. We even do repairs for other local jewelers
in the area.”
Dharmesh is aiming at taking his art one level up with a
Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certification.
They are one of the few jewelers in Atlanta that do
bullions. “We do gold and silver bullions in any quantity.
We do coins as well as bars,” says Dharmesh.
The Bhuras also have the distinction of being one of the few
jewelers in the area to factory import directly from
Singapore, India, Malaysia and Dubai to distribute within
Dharmesh was instrumental in bringing all Indian owned
jewelry store owners together under one association. He is
still the main convener of the Indian Jewelers Association
of Atlanta, a group that meets regularly over dinner to
discuss security, marketing and pricing issues for the
mutual benefit of all members.
“Being part of an association gives the member store the
advantage of setting a quality standard,” says Sammy. “The
customers are confident that they are buying genuine 22
The biggest advantage of having an association is in warning
each other of credit frauds and other security issues, says
Sammy looks after the marketing and merchandizing aspects of
the store. Her main contribution is in market analyses and
forecasting jewelry trends. A popular ex-RJ from Spice Radio
1040 AM’s Morning and Evening Drive-in shows, Sammy now
works as Community Relations Director at the American United
“My goals for the future are to continue the journey in the
efforts and success of the family business whilst also to be
able to make a significant contribution to the community,”
The Bhuras believe that a very stable, friendly environment
has helped them develop loyal clientele over the years.
“Jewelry is very personal,” says Dharmesh. “People will not
trust jewelers they don’t know. My customers know me. They
know that I can make changes/repairs as per their
“We are friendly, down-to-earth people,” adds Sammy.
While the recession has hit the jewelry business, the Bhuras
say came up with solutions to beat the downturn in sales.
“We searched for products that are affordable,” says
Dharmesh. “Nobody will want to gift a $100 chain in these
times. But we have chains for much less.”
The Bhuras feel that in today’s economical times of
difficulty they would like to continue in being able to
offer fine jewelry that is of the highest quality whilst
making it very affordable. And that, in a nutshell,
summarizes the USP of Veeraj Jewelers.