John R. Keim, President and Founder of Richards & West, began his career in fine jewelry at the young age of 10 working in lapidary, the art of cutting gemstones. Realizing that he had a gift and a passion for the art, John expanded his interest to learning metal working in order to create the finished mountings for his cut and polished gemstones. After attending the School for American Craftsmen, he began to bring his skill, talent and creativity to his own trademarked jewelry setting up a design studio in his parent’s basement.
The fine jewelry designs John created were elegant and one of a kind. Based on his excellence of craftsmanship and unique designs, John, began to develop original fine jewelry for a select group of clientele.
In 1982, John and a partner opened a fine jewelry manufacturing business, focused on designing and creating a line of men’s and women’s fine jewelry to be sold primarily to Jewelry stores nationally, introducing the line at The Jeweler Of America Trade show in New York City in July of 1983. Before long they began to expand the business in the areas of new product, custom work and repairs. The company’s dedication to its flourishing reputation was marked in 1985 by its winning of the DeBeers, Diamonds Today Award, considered a prestigious and honorable award for excellence in jewelry design and craftsmanship.
Over the years, as the business continued to grow both locally and nationally, John re-partnered with his brother, Gary R. Keim and Master Jeweler, John E. Miner. The company continued to primarily serve the industry at the trade level, while also opening its first retail showroom in 1998 on the second floor of its manufacturing space on University Ave in Rochester, New York. This ultimately led to a major expansion in 2011 to its own 15,000 square foot manufacturing facility and retail establishment, now with over 80 employees in East Rochester, New York.
Today, after more than four decades as a master jeweler, John continues to grow the company and is still involved at every phase of the jewelry making process, from designing and creating new pieces to sharing his knowledge and experience with his employees.
It is John’s passion, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit which drives the standard of excellence that Richards and West has achieved. This can be seen in the company’s master artisans, well known for their creativity and meticulous attention to detail, as they continue to craft one of a kind jewelry pieces, production products as well as provide jewelry repair services for their own store and for some of the worlds most highly regarded jewelers nationwide.
It is not only the past but the future mission of Richards & West to offer a unique selection of the best in both traditional and contemporary fine jewelry handcrafted in their own facility, by their own talented artisans. John believes that "fine jewelry is the ultimate treasure with its own unique story and expression—a living history and timeless symbol that joins individuals and generations."