By Jillian Risberg
Beauty, nostalgia, self-expression, rarity, legacy, that’s what a piece of jewelry can elicit and with Valentine’s Day just weeks away, this three-generation Denville family business will help you pick out the perfect gift.
“Some recommendations would be a diamond bar necklace or a diamond by the yard necklace,” says owner Bill Scielso Jr.
“Simple timeless styles have been popular,” he says. “In the past diamond hoop earrings or stackable rings have always been a big hit. And for the man in your life a watch is a good call.”
They can accommodate anyone’s price range.
For Bill Jr., this wasn’t a natural career choice — he says he kind of fell into it, but it’s definitely in his blood. His father was a watchmaker and his cousin was a master jeweler.
From the time they were quite young he and his sister, Lori Pallay, joined Bill Scielso Sr. in the family’s first store, Bill’s Jewelers of Secaucus.
At only 14-years-old, Bill Jr. was already learning the business and working on repairs.
They are lifelong residents of Morris County, 44 of which they have called Rockaway home.
He and Lori graduated from Morris Knolls High School and many of their classmates are still dear friends.
But the small-town appeal of Denville caught his father’s eye and even way back when Bill Sr. envisioned the family owning a jewelry store there.
In 2006, they finally made his dream a reality.
Bill Jr. went on to become a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certified appraiser and skilled jeweler.
“We’re full service, we do watch repair, jewelry repair,” he says. “Most of it is done on the premises and we have more than 80 years of (collective) experience.”
And the younger Scielso doesn’t see it as work. It’s truly a passion ingrained in Bill Jr. that the jeweler has poured his heart and soul into for 35 years.
It’s the folks who walk in the door day in and day out.
“(I’m) a people person,” Bill Jr. says. “Jewelry tends to make people feel good, puts a smile on their face.
It definitely made Ana Morales happy.
“If you’re looking for honesty, class and high quality, you’ve come to the right place,” Morales wrote on Yelp. “My family has been a loyal customer of Bilori Jewelers for years.”
The Islip Terrace woman feels confidant in recommending their services to anyone she can.
Her first experience with Bill Jr. and Lori was when Morales’ husband (then boyfriend) presented her with a breathtaking engagement ring.
“It’s a beautiful princess cut diamond in a very intricate and feminine setting, couldn’t be more perfect. My husband was very proud to tell me about the hours that he spent with Bill picking out the perfect diamond and setting. Their hard work paid off because it wasn’t just about making the sale to Bill, it was about finding the right ring to make our special day amazing.”
According to Bill Jr., it doesn’t get better than seeing clients through every momentous occasion.
“To be there for their moments of proposals and marriages, being part of somebody’s life in that manner.”
That means having a hand in a customer’s personal jewelry experience and accommodating their wishes.
Then there are the endless accolades for the pieces that really resonate with people.
Bill Jr. says that jewelry is leaning toward the more classic, but there’s no real trend or ‘in thing’ right now.
“It seems the young brides are keeping it really traditional,” he says. “Diamond stud earrings, traditional tennis bracelets, traditional eternity rings — which are diamonds all the way around a band.”
When Christina L. got engaged, she knew right out of the gate that she didn’t want to deal with the big corporations or online jewelers, so her fiancé picked Bilori since they live in town.
“He picked the ring out himself, gave them a budget and some style preferences and had a great deal of help in terms of figuring out what to get,” she posted on Yelp. “It is high quality and they carry a wide selection of settings.”
According to Christina, she found the staff pleasant when she went to pick up the ring and resizing was done the same day in a very timely fashion.
“I highly recommend Bilori for your engagement ring needs. We had visited a few other places and were not nearly as impressed with selection, quality and helpfulness of staff,” she says.
The store does remounting, redesigning and restyling; all popular choices.
“A lot of people have things that have been sitting in a drawer for a long time and they don’t wear it anymore because maybe it’s dated,” Bill Jr. says, adding that they create fun new pieces, something to the customer’s liking that they would get more wear out of, whether it’s a ring or a necklace.
When looking for a good jeweler, Bill Jr. says trust is the biggest thing.
“I don’t (see) you as a customer, you become more like family to me,” Bill Jr. says. “And it’s all about building a relationship, a connection. Doing the right thing goes a long way and word of mouth is better than anything else.
“For me, being in a mom and pop type of situation, I’ve always dealt with people in small business that way.”
According to the jeweler, doing the right thing means being honest and transparent — that’s how you build the trust and relationship.
“Hopefully that carries on and they recommend good people and you’re around to see their kids grow up — and they’re there for every moment,” Bill Jr. says. “Whether it’s buying a watch for graduation or they have their first child and the spouse comes in and picks out a piece of jewelry to honor that occasion.”
He says it’s about supporting your locals, that’s really what it comes down to.
“How I work is a diamond 101 course,” Bill Jr. says. “I give them a lesson on what to look for, so even if they don’t buy it from me, they leave here with an education and some knowledge. Be smart about the purchase because it is a substantial purchase and you want to make the right choices.”
Bekim Perolli calls Bill and Lori extremely helpful jewelers.
The Flanders man bought a diamond engagement ring from them and calls the process smooth and easy.
“They were very patient with me, as I didn’t have an idea of what I wanted going in, and helped explain all the nuances of ring-buying,” the business analyst posted on Yelp.
“Bill takes the time to show you all the imperfections in the diamonds under a microscope, and will help you come to the right decision that works for your budget. I found everything about the process professional and refreshing.”
Perolli has nothing but praise for the jewelers and says the prices were also quite reasonable.
“Avoid chain stores (who charge you for their name) and do yourself a favor by maximizing your value at this quaint Denville shop,” he says.
For the customer who comes in with money to spend but asks Bill Jr. to recommend something, he is always there to help.
“A lot of times they have an idea,” the jeweler says. “I don’t want to lead them to something that’s going to be over what they can afford or up-sell. I mean, if they have a certain budget and requirements of what they’re looking for, I can steer them in the right direction and give them several different options of ways to go.”
According to Bill Jr., it’s a matter of the customer coming in, sitting down and having a conversation. Then they can show them everything that it entails to make the right purchase for their significant other.
“You don’t know who’s going to walk in the door and what they’re going to be looking for,” he says. “You have to have a good variety and bridal today is the bulk of our business.”
Steve Long can’t say enough about how well he and his then fiancé were treated upon walking into Bilori Jewelers – from the initial engagement ring visits through the wedding band purchase.
“Not only are they absolute pros, they are extremely honest and really made us feel like old friends,” the Montclair man wrote on Yelp.
According to the filmmaker and podcaster, his wife gets constant compliments on her gorgeous rings.
“Bill was honest about the 3 C’s (cut, color, clarity) when it came to purchasing a diamond, which made us confident about our final selection. For guys: great one stop shop, add your wedding band too.”
From engagement rings to wedding bands, that’s where Bill Jr. says he has the most variety and selection, as well as colored stones.
The jeweler also sells watches and gifts, high end platinum, 18K and 14K white and yellow gold jewelry and finds that having a little bit of everything is the way to go for customers.
For items that don’t require dropping a big chunk of change, it includes sterling silver pieces and battery replacements, jewelry cleaning and appraisal discussions.
At the end of the day, Bill Jr. just wants to make sure you find or create the piece of jewelry that suits you, has special meaning and that you hold on to for a lifetime.
“Service with a smile first of all and customer service is what we really offer,” Bill Jr. says. “We want to be your local jeweler.”