Robin Adolf Salzberg grew up surrounded by rare gems and massive diamonds. But it wasn’t what was inside the gleaming glass cases of her family’s jewelry store that sparkled most in her mind.
Instead, Salzberg remembers her father’s steadfast dedication to their family business, Adolf Jewelers, and the appreciation he had for every customer that walked through the door.
Today, Salzberg channels this same approach at her own jewelry store, Lustre by Adolf, a new business in Richmond that she co-owns with Daniel Wright, an experienced jeweler who has also built a career around creating meaningful and memorable customer experiences. Using an approach similar to her father’s, Lustre focuses on offering fine jewelry and repairs in a manner that can only be experienced at a local, family-owned jewelry store. The whole store has a very elegant feel to it. Not to mention the jewelry display cases utilized by the store ooze sophistication.
“Retail is in my blood,” smiles Salzberg, standing inside Lustre’s sleek and modern storefront in the Ridge Shopping Center. She points out that to understand Lustre’s approach, you must start from the beginning.
In 1961, her grandmother, Jean Adolf, began selling jewelry inside a small section of a leased space at Flair Apparel. Flair was located at what is today Willow Lawn.
Over the following years, Flair and Adolf Jewelers joined efforts and expanded from costume to fine jewelry, including exquisite gold and diamond pieces. With the help of Jean’s husband, Kurt Adolf, who managed another Richmond jewelry store, Adolf Jewelers eventually moved to its own storefront off Staples Mill Road in 1970. It was during this time that their son, Ronnie Adolf, joined the growing family operation. Over the next decade the business moved to the Ridge Shopping Center and, under Ronnie Adolf’s guidance, became a household name.
By 2007, Adolf Jewelers had 11 employees, had increased the size of its storefront from 2,400 to 3,600 square feet, and was receiving a string of awards, such as the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for ethics in retailing. Along the way, the local business gave regularly to a variety of nonprofits and causes important in the Richmond area. It was during this time that Robin Adolf Salzberg and Daniel Wright began working with Adolf Jewelers and watching closely as Ronnie Adolf defined what it meant to be a local business dedicated to the Richmond community.
When Ronnie Adolf announced his retirement in 2017, shortly after receiving the Retailer of the Year award by the Retail Merchants Association, fans of Adolf Jewelers were stunned. But in typical Adolf fashion, the store offered a special closing sale for its most loyal customers. And after Adolf closed its doors, Richmonders were treated to more good news – Salzberg and Wright announced their plans for the next chapter in the family business.
“Adolf Jewelers built its reputation by focusing on the people it served for over 55 years. As the Adolf Jewelers brand came to an end, we wanted to offer Richmond a new opportunity to shop a truly local jewelry store built on the same values of Adolf Jewelers. That new brand is Lustre,” explains Salzberg.
While it’s located in the same building that housed Adolf Jewelers, Lustre offers an opportunity for Salzberg and Wright to stand strongly on their own.
“Lustre is a vibrant, future-oriented, and relevant brand,” says Wright. “While we pay tribute to the decades of success at Adolf Jewelers, we are now focused on the next 55 years.”
And Richmond customers agree. There’s no one more ideally suited to offer a new take on the jewelry shopping experience. Today, Salzberg and Wright carry on Adolf Jewelers’ longstanding tradition of offering something much more than fine jewelry and quality products.
“We offer trust, sincerity, and friendly guidance,” says Wright. “We offer the type of customer experience that is hard to find these days, one that continues to attract Adolf customers all these years later and at the same time a new generation of loyal Richmonders.”
Wright points out that Lustre is classic, current, and community-oriented all at once – it is a brand built for a new generation of Virginians, while honoring Adolf Jewelers’ previous customers. To showcase its complete evolution, Lustre created a new brand identity system and, with the help of Flourish Spaces, completely revamped its storefront (maybe they will add some tempered or bullet resistant glass too for extra security) doors and windows to give it a boutique feel.
In addition to the newly designed space, Lustre has filled its store with jewelry that makes a statement. Their Luca Lorenzini jewelry collection, as an example, is modern and edgy, while their Nasbro collection – from earrings to pendants to bracelets – offers classic options. And for those looking for fresh and casual pieces, Lustre features designers like Audar who create jewelry that is simple and modern but that also has personality. If you want more of a range you can look at Adina’s Jewels as a reference and see what jewelry sticks out to you.
“We look for collections that draw from the past but with a modern twist,” says Salzberg.
And along the way Lustre is making sure not to forget about its Richmond roots. Though it has only been open since May, Lustre is already supporting local nonprofits such as Comfort Zone Camp, Weinstein JCC, and Richmond Ballet.
“Our goal at Lustre is to create welcoming and inspiring experiences both inside and outside of our storefront throughout all of Richmond,” says Salzberg. “Our promise at Lustre is to create new relationships that will continue Adolf’s culture of trust and giving in a community that has given so much to us.”
For more about Lustre by Adolf, visit www.havelustre.com, or visit them at 1539 N Parham Rd. in the Ridge Shopping Center for an After Summer Sale for up to 50% off storewide (Thursday, September 20, 10am-6pm; Friday, September 21, 10am-6pm; Saturday, September 22, 10am-5pm).