This year marks the 30th anniversary of Bijoux Village. The founder, Gary Bensimon, has a remarkable selection of fine jewellery that would be perfect for your next anniversary, a loved one’s special day, or just as a something for yourself. Gary took some time out of his busy day recently to discuss his business with Sheliza from The Eglinton Way.
When I arrive, Gary is answering questions for a client. His words breathe life into the jewellery pieces he describes. I’m a distance away, but can visualize their elegance just from listening to Gary speak with his customer. The man makes his purchase and Gary sets up displays for the day while answering my questions.
The Eglinton Way: Good morning,
Gary. What’s your official title?
Gary: I do everything here. I am the owner, operator, admin, and daily cleaner. It’s just me here mostly.
The Eglinton Way: How did you get started in this business?
Gary: It’s a family business. My grandfather was also a jeweller. I worked for other jewellery companies when I was younger and then opened Bijoux here on Eglinton right after I finished university. The space was available and it seemed like a good fit for me.
Gary: I enjoy the European flair the name adds to the store. My morning begins with setting up displays and a bit of tidying. After doing some admin work and checking my emails my attention is on the customers. I do watch and jewellery repairs and show merchandise to the customers who are shopping for something.
Gary points out his workstation. It’s a comfortable seat surrounded by lots of tools and paper work.
The Eglinton Way: What is your favorite piece of jewellery?
Gary: At the moment? I’ll show you…
I hold the ring and look at it carefully. Its sparkle is captivating.
Gary: There are 58 facetted mirrors facing each other. There’s a saying I like: “Diamonds inhale light and breathe fire”. This piece embodies that expression.
The Eglinton Way: Can you show me around the rest of the store?
Gary: Yes, of course. Our main displays are in the windows at the front. Most of what we sell is gold and diamonds, and then there are precious and colored stones. We also have a consultation space for custom designs and the back half of the store is for estate jewellery.
As I walk through the shop I notice the beautiful colorful rugs I am walking on.
The Eglinton Way: Did you acquire the rugs locally?
Gary: Yes, most are from Hakim Rugs on The Eglinton Way.
The Eglinton Way: They’re very nice. Last question for you: what changes have you seen along The Eglinton Way over the past 30 years?
Gary: The culture of the area has evolved with the times. It used to be a lively and busy place, but when The Eglinton Theatre closed there were less people visiting. We’re still a well-known shopping area in the city and I intend to keep my business here.
The Eglinton Way: Thank you for your time, Gary.