MARIETTA — A couple that has owned a jewelry store in Smyrna for 30 years are showing off the building’s new look. The Cumberland Diamond Exchange has occupied the corner of Spring Road and Cumberland Boulevard since 1982.
Expansion and renovations to the building housing the exchange’s large jewelry collections were completed in June, and owner Mark Jacobson says the invitation-only grand re-opening ceremony was a way to give back to the community that has supported him for more than 30 years.
Jacobson first settled in the Atlanta area in 1976, starting an advertising agency whose clients included a local jewelry store. He soon became the store’s in-house marketing head, eventually rising to become its sales manager. After parting ways with the jewelry store, Jacobson developed the concept for a fine jewelry business of his own, and in 1982, he and his brother, Wayne, opened the doors to Cumberland Diamond Exchange. Soon after, Mark met his wife, Rhonda, and brought her on board as an owner in 1984.
The exchange quickly grew into a Smyrna fixture, ballooning in size from a 1,200-square-foot showroom to a 2,800-square-foot structure within the first two decades of operation.
Mark and Rhonda Jacobson have been active in the Cobb community since Mark and Wayne founded the business in 1982.
Rhonda serves on the board of trustees for the WellStar Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting north Georgia’s WellStar Health Systems, and will be honored later this year by the Young Women’s Christian Association. Mark and his wife give to many charities, including the American Cancer Society and the Cobb Library Association, but Mark says his favorite cause is SafePath, a children’s advocacy center.
“It’s my baby,” he said of the charity, adding his exchange recently created 1,000 pieces for a SafePath event.
“Although we sell diamonds, we are not in the jewelry business,” Mark and Rhonda Jacobson wrote in a letter to the Cobb Chamber of Commerce this spring. “Cumberland Diamond Exchange is a people business.”
Mark Jacobson’s exchange was recognized as one of the top 25 businesses in the county by the Cobb Chamber in 2013, but this year, he says, he hopes to receive the top spot.
He and his wife say they enjoyed the application process, which prompted them to closely analyze the business’ charitable donations.
“You don’t even realize how much money and how many hours you’re giving until you have to sit there and tabulate the hours,” Mark Jacobson explained.
Mark said because people in the community now perceive his business as a top-quality jeweler, he wanted the exterior of the exchange’s business to match that perception.
“The building didn’t give it that type of persona from the outside,” he said.
His wife agreed.
“We sell luxury items, but we wanted it to have a luxurious facade without being intimidated,” Rhonda explained. “It’s updated.”
Among other improvements, the exchange’s owners decided to add space to the showroom floor, bringing its size close to 5,000 square feet.
Rhonda Jacobson says she helped design the store’s interior with the intention of providing clients with a “living room experience.”
“We treat our guests at the store the same way we would guests at our home,” she said.