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Robert Moses is a Premier Goldsmith and Master Jeweler, but he refers to himself simply as “the man in the window.”
That’s because if you visit Bowen Jewelry Company at 829 Main Street, you’ll see Robert through the glass, creating custom jewelry pieces destined to become treasured family heirlooms.
“I sit down with the customer and find out exactly what they want…Sometimes they have no idea what they want…others have done research and gone online,” Robert said. They may already have a stone that holds sentimental value, or they may want to choose one of Bowen’s brilliant-cut diamonds.
During his 29 years in the jewelry business, Robert has learned to transform that initial customer conversation into a preliminary sketch, and then, from there, to hand-carve a wax model to make a mold. He then casts the jewelry, filling the mold with molten gold or platinum, and, finally, sets the stones.
“I look at myself more as an artist than a jeweler,” he said.
The process, involving intense heat, can be dangerous at times, but Robert enjoys the art and science of his craft. He likes seeing the metal turn to liquid like mercury, so reflective you can see your face in it.
Robert began this work when he was asked to apprentice with a jeweler in Salem. Recounting his start, Robert laughs: he was doing a last-minute high school project long after midnight and created a working model of an airplane with toothpicks and rubber bands. That model airplane found a home on Robert’s machine shop teacher’s desk, so when his teacher was asked to recommend an apprentice, he glanced over at Robert’s creation and suggested they take him.
Robert worked for that jeweler as an apprentice and then for a jewelry manufacturer before coming to Lynchburg to attend college. While in Lynchburg, he connected with Bowen and has been there ever since.
“Bowen has good service, good quality, and fair prices ... I learned a lot of that from Mr. Bowen, a very classy man,” Robert said. "In a small town, you have to build trust, or you don’t stay in business." And Bowen has been in business since 1933.
For more than 80 years, Lynchburg-area weddings have often included a Bowen diamond on the bride’s finger. But the jeweler also offers a variety of new, estate, and custom-made pieces.
Bowen moved to its current Downtown location in 1946. View a timeline of its history and learn about its legacy of support for our community. And don’t forget to come by and see “the man in the window,” working to perfect his craft day after day!