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It's a Living

Jewelers enjoy helping customers celebrate happy occasions


I ask Doug Mortimer to describe his job in one word. “Fun,” he answers, and his work-wife Kathi Stefany agrees.

Doug’s real-life wife is Donna Mortimer and she’s a close friend of Kathi’s. Doug is the owner of Douglas Jewelers in the Barn Plaza in Doylestown, and together with Kathi, they have fun selling jewelry to people for all kinds of happy occasions.

“That’s what makes it fun,” Doug says. “We get to share in the excitement of engagements, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, birthdays, and other milestone life events.”

Doug and Kathi have worked together for 40 years, and they see eye to eye about most things. But there was this one time…

Years ago, a local news station asked them to weigh in on a very controversial case that was about to be tried locally. A man had asked a woman to marry him during the Christmas season and had given her an engagement ring worth $150,000. He had later broken off the engagement and wanted his ring back. The woman considered it a gift and didn’t think she should have to return it.

What did Doug and Kathi think about who the ring now rightfully belonged to was what the news station wanted to know.

Doug thought the ring belonged to the man who bought it because it was an engagement ring, and the couple were no longer engaged.

Kathi thought the ring belonged to the woman who accepted it as a Christmas gift.

The law was questioning whether the ring was more an engagement ring, or more a piece of jewelry given as a gift.

Of course, I had to put in my two cents. I agreed with Kathi for reasons that were anything but judicious. My reasoning, or lack thereof, went like this: If she broke off the engagement, she should give the ring back. If he broke it off, she should be allowed to keep it, as a sort of consolation prize for enduring the inconvenience and unpleasantness of a broken engagement.

The law wisely agreed with Kathi and me, and the woman kept the ring.

The joy these two have in their work permeates the store, and it’s contagious. I feel happy just talking to them. They tell me that people are always welcome to bring in their kids, their dogs or anybody else who’d like to view their inventory.

They tell me parents often bring in their babies after they’ve purchased “push presents.” I’m usually way behind when it comes to popular culture and have no idea what they’re talking about.

They tell me that a push present is a gift a partner gives to the mother for pushing a human being out into the world. (Do cesareans count? If so, you still owe me, first husband.)

Doug says that sometimes, the partner will come right from the hospital to the store.

Gemology was always a family business and Doug started selling jewelry shortly after he was born. Not exactly, but his father had a store, Select Jewelers in Feasterville, and now Doug’s daughter, Stephanie, works with him at his store in Doylestown. He’s been in business so long that now he’s serving the children of earlier customers.

Kathi and Doug have so many interesting stories about people whose lives they’ve touched and been touched by through the years that I find it hard to pick my favorite. But this one is in the top five:

A wife, 83, and her husband, 85, were at Doylestown Hospital where the husband was undergoing dialysis. A nurse mentioned she had just gotten engaged and showed her ring to the couple, who commented that it was a beautiful ring. “I never had an engagement ring,” the wife told the nurse. “We were so young we just couldn’t afford one.” Hearing this as his procedure ended, the husband said, “Well, you’re going to have one now.”

He proposed. She accepted. And off they went to Douglas Jewelers to get her an engagement ring.

Anecdotal evidence that it’s never too late to get engaged, even 60 years after the wedding.

"It's a Living" is a weekly column showcasing residents who are making a living in an interesting way, or people who’ve reinvented their careers because they could no longer ignore the voice in the back of their heads telling them to start over, take a risk, chase a dream or set out on their own.

These are stories of bravery, persistence, resilience, and vision.

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