This is now... 2014: Joseph Collara Jr. with customer at J&M Jewelry
That was then...1962: Joseph Collara Sr. with wife Veronica Collara
at Chalmette Jewelry
Joseph and Madeline Collara are both master jewelers who have worked in the jewelry industry for 50 and 43 years respectively. Joseph's career had an early jumpstart when he began working on watches in his father's store, Chalmette Jewelry & Sporting Goods, at the age of 12. By the age of 17, he furthered his knowledge of the business with an apprenticeship at master jewelers such as Adler's on Canal Street in New Orleans, LA and Corrigan's Jewelry in Houston, TX. He received further formal instruction in New York and at Stuller Manufacturer in Lafayette, LA.
Madeline had her own apprenticeship at Chalmette Jewelry & Sporting Goods and in the late 1970's she received formal education in jewelry casting and jewelry repair at LSUNO, now the University of New Orleans. Madeline attended further advance "Stone Setting, repair and design at "Trenton School for Jeweler's" in Little Rock Arkansas mid 1980's and "New Approach School for Jeweler's" in Virginia Beach 2006. As a professional jeweler and artisan, Madeline showcased her designs around the country at numerous Gem & Jewelry Expos. From the mid to late 1980's, she served as an instructor at the William Holland School of Lapidary Arts in Northern Georgia and Wild Acres Lapidary Institute. In addition to being a master jeweler, Madeline creates unique wire wrapped and beaded jewelry designs.
In 1997, Joseph and Madeline opened their own jewelry store, St. Bernard Jewelry, in Chalmette, LA, Hurricane Katrina destroyed their business and home in 2005,, but being dedicated to their work and their community, they rebuilt their business and reopened in the same location under the current name of J & M Jewelry. They offer custom design, jewelry & watch repair and have a wide selection of ready made jewelry available for purchase at their storefront in the heart of Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish.