One iconic Des Plaines business has roots going back to Germany more than 100 years ago. F.X. Wahl moved to the U.S. from Germany in the 1880’s, and opened a store in Chicago in 1894. His son, F.F. Wahl, opened Wahl Jewelers in Des Plaines in 1949. Heather Wahl, with her parents Bob and Barba Wahl, proudly manages her family’s store, , now in its eighth generation.
Heather Wahl said their customers were multigenerational as well, which has contributed to the jewelry store’s longevity.
“Grandma could be remounting a ring and a 20-something could be getting engaged,” Wahl said.
Wahl said they cater to a variety of demands. Some people bring in old jewels and stones to work into updated settings for engagement, she said, and others seek new products.
Wahl said she read trade magazines to keep up with new styles, and up-and-coming trends included long layered necklaces and diamond hoop earrings. Infusing fresh ideas into the product selection is important, she said.
“[Our selection] is fresh and unique but also timeless,” Wahl said.
R.C. Wahl Jewelers is one of a limited number of authorized Rolex watch dealers in the country. They sell colored gemstones, dozens of styles of sterling silver pendants and necklaces, designer engagement rings and wedding bands, including Simon G products. They also redesign and repair jewelry.
“We do everything from start to finish,” Wahl said. “We can tackle anything.”
Staff members take special care to work closely with customers and help them pick personalized gifts or products that suit their personalities, Wahl said.
“We have gift items for all budgets and age groups,” Wahl said.
While most customers are local, they also serve customers across the country. Wahl said one customer from Denver ordered a 40th birthday ring for his wife, and another purchased Rolex watches with engraved personal messages, shipped to family members in several states.
The seven employees at Wahl jewelry are gearing up for the holiday season, and November and December are their busiest months.
“There is always heightened excitement around the holidays,” Wahl said.