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From brit milah to B’nai Mitzvah, weddings to anniversaries, thousands of Delaware Valleyans have bought simcha gifts at Jay Roberts in Marlton. While a Jay Roberts gift is what their customers love to give, co-owners Jay Golde and Jake Spiegelman love to give back to the community with generous donations and sponsorships of Jewish charitable causes in South Jersey and Philadelphia. What pearls of wisdom can they share?
The No. 1 thing men should know before buying an engagement ring
“Shape matters more than size,” Spiegelman says. “Size is a function of budget. Shape is a matter of taste.” Round, princess, pear, oval — how’s a guy to know? “Most women drop enough hints when the time approaches,” Golde says. “They will comment on rings they see in magazines or ones that their friends have. A man just has to listen. Or just bring us a picture!”
Most popular push present?
“Aaron Basha baby shoe charms for a bracelet or necklace,” Spiegelman says. “They are enamel and come in many different colors and designs. Some have gold, some have diamonds, and there are a slew of colors. Dads can have the name of the baby and the birth date engraved on the back.” Note to zaydes: Many grandmothers now receive push presents when their grandchildren are born.
Hot B’nai Mitzvah gifts
“For girls, it’s a bracelet or necklace with a pendant,” Spiegelman says. “For boys, it’s a watch. It’s really their first introduction to a nice timepiece.”
How to buy a watch for a man
“Most men have several watches — sporty, casual, dress — so know what he already owns,” Golde advises. “The one he wears most often is the one he most likes, so see if you can figure out why. It might be the band, the features on the watch or something else. Those are things you can look for when you buy him a new watch.”
You don’t know Jake — or Jay
Spiegelman was born in Israel. “My family came to the United States when I was 5 years old,” he says. “We lived on a chicken farm in Vineland with other immigrants. When I was a teenager, we moved to Philadelphia. I’ve lived in Cherry Hill since the early 1980s. No, I don’t miss the chicken farm. Not one bit.”
Jewelry is the second career for both men. Golde was in the clothing business when he opened his first store in 1977. “It was a 300-square foot space at Castor Avenue and Bleigh Street in the Northeast,” Golde says. “It was a shoebox on a side street. But I loved the jewelry business and I was good at it, so the store was a success.” In 1981, he relocated the business to Cherry Hill and in 1990 the Marlton showcase opened. Spiegelman’s first career? He sold corrugated boxes.
What gifts does a jeweler give his wife?
Spiegelman’s wife owns four Basha charms — one for each grandchild — and he says they are her favorites. Golde proposed to his wife with a 1.3-carat round engagement ring. On their 15th wedding anniversary, he replaced it with a 3 carat, princess-cut diamond ring. The original diamond was designed into a new ring. Mrs. Golde has a diamond wedding band, a gift to commemorate their first child’s Bar Mitzvah. On their 25th wedding anniversary, Golde gave his wife a gold Cartier watch. She gave him a Panerai watch, and many other gifts over the years. But Golde can only remember one. “A hot tub,” he says, “and it’s fantastic.”
This article originally appeared in "Simchas," a Jewish Exponent special section.