s a family owned business Sanders has been built from the ground up by Rick and his wife Melinda. They have created a business that values you as a person and as a friend rather than just another customer. They want everyone who walks in our doors to feel comfortable and special here. Since the beginning Rick and Melinda have hand picked each and every employee to carry on the family standard of warm welcomes and superior customer service. We as a staff have been expanding and thought it was time to give you a little insight to who we are and why we believe in what the Sanders have started here.
Rick Sanders – Founder/President/Master Bench Jeweler
Slightly more than 30 years ago, Gainesville gained a new resident in Rick Sanders. Little did North Florida know, the best jeweler in North Florida had been born! Growing up in Gainesville, Rick immediately jumped into the industry after finishing school. Apprenticing under a local bench jeweler, Rick began constructing the building blocks for a rugged foundation in jewelry repair. As years passed, and Rick demonstrated his obvious aptitude for repairing jewelry, he decided to put his skills to the test and actually create jewelry himself. In hindsight, this was a momentous decision in leading Rick to being the master craftsman he is today. Many jewelers are faced with this decision at some point in their career, but few decide to take the leap, and fewer still excel at jewelry fabrication. When Rick began making jewelry himself, technology was significantly different than it is today. In other words, Rick did everything by hand, as opposed to jewelers learning the trade nowadays who rely on computer assistance. This background gives Rick a tremendous depth of knowledge in terms of the fundamentals of jewelry repair and fabrication. Rick offers a rare opportunity to learn how a combination of old techniques and new technology can be blended to offer his clients the best of both worlds – and most importantly the highest quality craftsmanship around. Rick finds this gives him a leg up on other jewelers, because not only does he know the best way to get a job done but he knows why it’s the best way to get a job done. The neat thing about Rick further distinguishing him among jewelers is his willingness to share the details of his craft. Many jewelers are rather secretive of their methods, and unwilling to share the nitty-gritty details of their processes. Rick, on the other hand, is incredibly transparent and happy to walk any client through his entire process.
After perfecting his craft in both repair and custom fabrication, Rick decided to put his talents to work for himself and became an entrepreneur. In 2004, Rick opened Sanders Jewelers with his beloved wife Melinda. The next milestone in Rick’s accomplished career was becoming a certified master bench jeweler. Many jewelers tout the title of being a master bench jeweler, but few have actually earned the distinction as a certified master. To put it in perspective, Rick Sanders is one of three certified master bench jewelers in Florida, and the only one from the Orlando area to South Carolina
A family man and Gator fan, Rick and his wife have two sons, Andrew and Ryan, who both attend the University of Florida. Rick prides himself on treating everyone who walks in the store as family, and this approach to running a business has served him well. While Rick is an adventuresome guy who enjoys the beach, skiing, and trying new things, there is one line that will not be crossed – vegetables. And if you’re ever giving Rick food, don’t think you can get away with simply removing the offending vegetables without his knowledge. With taste buds as practiced as his jeweler’s hands, he has the ability to detect even the slightest hint of vegetable residue. Meat is Rick’s preference. A patriot and meat lover, it’s no surprise Independence Day is among Rick’s favorite holidays. It gives him a chance to demonstrate his elite barbequing skills. But don’t expect stinky old gas grilled food – charcoal only.
Melinda Sanders – Co-Founder/Co-Owner/Vice President/Office Manager
You often hear an organization’s success largely depends on behind the scenes action. Nowhere is this truer than at Sanders Jewelers. Necessary and never ending, the work Melinda does behind the scenes is the glue holding Sanders Jewelers together. Melinda graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a major in marketing. She manages our office and maintains the balance of all of our accounts, finances and vendors. With such an unrelenting workload, Melinda’s favorite way to take a break is to meet and greet clients who come into the store. An aspect of running the store that Melinda covets is the deep relationships she’s built with clients over the years.
You’d never know it, but Melinda hasn’t run jewelry stores all her life. After graduating from UF, she began a career in the insurance industry. As an adjuster, Melinda aided unrepresented clients in settling their claims. By doing this, she was able to nurture her passion for helping people. Consequently, when she was blessed with the opportunity to leave her insurance career to care for her two sons, Andrew and Ryan, the decision to become a full time mom was an easy one. Staying home and raising her two sons along with Rick was an exciting and fulfilling experience. One that she will cherish for the rest of her life. Six years went by, and Rick and Melinda decided to pursue their lifelong dream of entrepreneurship. Just like that, Sanders Jewelers was born. The perfect duo, Rick’s jewelry expertise blended with Melinda’s business background has propelled the store to success. One of Melinda’s favorite management duties is traveling across the country with Rick to represent Sanders Jewelers at industry trade shows. At these national events, Melinda is afforded the opportunity to hand select new, one of a kind pieces for our clients. These shows also give Melinda the chance to network and thicken the rolodex, learning tricks of the trade from a variety of new people.
An incredibly strong woman, Melinda’s only weakness is chocolate – a fact Rick likes to exploit! One of her favorite things to do is to spend time with her family. And if she can do it while vacationing in the Caribbean, sailing into the sunset on a catamaran while enjoying fruity drinks, even better. Melinda is truly an asset to Sanders Jewelers. We wouldn’t know what to do without her.
Andrea DeBruin- Fine Jewelry Sales
Andrea joined the Sanders team in November of 2015 and has proved to be an invaluable addition. Fresh to the industry as of 2015, she has quickly cultivated a sincere and deep appreciation of the diamonds and gemstones we work with, including sapphires, which are her favorite. "They are so beautiful and romantic, and they come in everyone's color." She truly enjoys the process of helping our clients pick out the perfect diamond or gemstone. As a graduate of the University of Florida, Andrea considers learning a life long process, and has put her heart and soul into learning as much as she can about the pieces we work with to ensure she helps you in a clear and effective way. When she is not at Sanders Jewelers, Andrea enjoys a multitude of outdoor activities, such as gardening, as well as yoga, and quality snuggle time with her 3 kitties and having time for friends. You may even find her somewhere down town drinking coffee and reading a good book. She is incessantly listening to podcasts and cute girl pop. Most importantly, she looks forwards to meeting you!
Brianne Hurt - Fine Jewelry Sales
Brianne is the most recent addition to the Sanders Jewelers family, beginning in November of 2017. Brianne is a native of Naples, FL. who values nature, learning, and family. After the last 12 years working in jewelery stores and Human Resources for high end watch companies all across the United States, she has finally landed in Gainesville. Since arriving, she has been keen to take advantage of living a quiet farm life while working hard to finish her Bachelors degree in HR management. Brianne enjoys helping our customers find gorgeous engagement sets and hearing the stories of each and every couple she meets. When she is not at Sanders Jewelers helping clients pick out beautiful and unique pieces, you may find her either soaking up the Naples sun while fishing, or in Gainesville, tending to her beloved animals, including horses, dogs, goats and chickens