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Inside a Family-Owned Birmingham Jewelry Business That Sparkles

Rupa Patel, left, and daughter, Avani, owners of Avani Rupa Fine Jewelers. (Amarr Croskey, For The Birmingham Times)
By Ameera Steward
For The Birmingham Times

The mother-daughter duo of Avani (daughter) and Rupa Patel (mother) is very much like their jewelry business: the richness and vibrance of Indian culture meets elegance.

Avani Rupa Fine Jewelers is a showroom located at 2408 Canterbury Road, Birmingham, Ala. and serves as the creative home for Avani and Rupa rooted in family, entrepreneurship, and the art of storytelling.

From helping a customer find an everyday piece to turning a family heirloom into a fashion statement, the business provides its customers with jewelry that range in prices from $200 to $50,000.

“Our mission and our goal is to create pieces that mean something to each and every one of our clients, and that speaks to each client in a different way and a unique way,” said Avani. “[In a way that] we can be a part of our client’s lives not just one time, but we can be enfolded into their lives for milestones, for years to come.”

 A Family Business

Approximately 25 years ago Avani Rupa Fine Jewelers was founded by, a then, 35-year-old Rupa Patel– who has always had a knack for creating jewelry. “It’s all just intuition for her…she always just had a natural affinity for it,” said 32-year-old Avani.

But it wasn’t until after Rupa moved to America in her teenage years, and took the journey of wife and mother that she found how to turn her natural ability into generational wealth.

Rupa’s friends loved her personal pieces so much that they continuously asked her to make pieces. “And that’s where it sparked [for] her,” said Avani.

With the help of her husband, Ajay, Rupa made the strides of becoming a small business owner and named her business Reflections by Rupa which was located in their basement for three years before opening a storefront in Hoover nearly 15 to 18 years ago.

Wanting to be like her mother, Avani could have chosen a number of professions, but chose being an entrepreneur. “I actually did start working with her…in the summers in middle school,” Avani recalled. “I would go to work with her and then after I got home from school, I’d see her clients…and I loved all the interaction. So, I just fell in love with the entrepreneur side of it…and getting so creative with it, and then everything fell into place…it just made sense when I saw…[my mother] gets to be her own boss.”

Also like her mother, Avani has always been intrigued by jewelry “because in our Indian culture, jewelry is what we keep…as heirloom pieces,” she said. In addition to having pieces passed down to her, Avani also had the privilege of going with her mom to buy jewelry as well as watch the process of her mother build a business.

Watching her mother, Avani saw she didn’t have to work in the medical field like her dad who owns an internal medicine practice in Clanton, Ala. or her brother who is a dermatologist, who also has his own practice.

“It was awesome because I was like well, I can be a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, really anything I wanted to,” Avani explained. “So, [my mother] was like my motivation, and inspiration [as well as] the reason why I even…thought about doing a jewelry background and doing a jewelry education.”

As an undergraduate, Avani Patel changed her major from biology to business, and then to accounting, which is the degree she received from Birmingham Southern College in 2011.

Avani went on to earn a gemologist degree in 2012 from the Gemological Institute of America [a nonprofit organization of gemological research and learning] located in Carlsbad, California. Avani also finished her courses in jewelry design as well as CAD/CAM [the integration of Computer-aided design (CAD) and Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)] which enables her to do computer renderings [the process of generating a photorealistic or non-photorealistic image from a 2D or 3D model by means of a computer program], hand design, sketch, and to set stones.

With her technical degree, Patel was able “to take the business to the next level.”

Once she became a part of the business, the names were changed from Reflections by Rupa to Reflection Diamond Jewelry and then to Avani Rupa Fine Jewelers in 2015.

When it comes to Avani Rupa Fine Jewelers, Avani handles business and design, Rupa is mostly involved in the design, they have a store manager named Dmitriy, and then there are the husbands.

Rupa’s husband, Ajay, works with Avani and Rupa at the showroom on his off days. Avani’s husband, Milind, a pharmacist at UAB, will help when there is a show in town or an after-hours event. “We all come together and do what we have to do,” said Avani. “I’m really proud of where the small business has grown, and how far we’ve come…how far we have to go and how well we’ve all worked together as a small business family to get to where we are.”

For more, email info@avanirupa.com.