In 1970, after many years working and teaching jewelry, Richard and Laurel Stephens decided to move permanently to San Luis Obispo. Opening their first store, The Najahe Inc., in downtown SLO, and expanding in 1978 to their second location, San Luis Lapidary, in the Barrett Block building across from Hanna’s Hardware on Garden Street. A few years later San Luis Lapidary would become Garden Street Goldsmiths, doing jewelry work for the public and wholesale work for several stores up and down the West Coast. Their daughter, Amanda, had a natural talent for the complex engineering of heirloom quality jewelry. Doing her first professional jewelry project at the age of nine, she had soon been bitten by the jewelry bug. In 2000, she became a business partner with her parents, and in 2004 married J. David Hillebrecht who has become one of the stores top jewelry designers. The family has found ways to continually incorporate their personal interests into their store. They now not only manufacture custom jewelry at the 1114 and 1118 Garden St. locations but also dabble in other metal smithing. Amanda says she and her husband “found a way to stay” in the town they love so much, and look forward to raising their family with the ”old school ethics” taught to her by working in the family business.
* Article Featured in SLO County History Book Volume 2 - 50's, 60's, & 70's