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Chris Zoettl: An Eye for Jewelry

Updated: Feb 3



For those of you who don’t know Christopher Zoettl, he’s the one with the big smile and cheerful nature, and as I learned recently, a man of many talents and occupations.


A trained optometrist, Chris found his way to the jewelry trade through his parents, who grew the family business from scratch in Augsburg, Germany. His mother – an LA native – started selling jewelry as a side project just over 30 years ago, while Chris’s dad ran the family’s soft drink bottling company. Soon enough, mom (and eventually pop) realized the jewelry gig could sustain the family and they went all in. Chris had dipped his toe in the business while testing eyes and fixing specs. But he soon saw a better vision for his future and decided to learn more about gems and jewelry. In 2007 he spent time in California earning his GG at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) where he “fell in love” with the industry and the product.


Believe it or not, Chris has managed to combine the two skill sets, in somewhat of a throwback to the old Bavarian tradesmen who would have optometry, opticianry, jewelry, watches and weapons all available in one store. Think about it, they all have a mechanical component to them… Chris doesn’t deal in weapons, though 😉. And his wife is also an optometrist, which leaves him more time to focus on jewelry.


Today, the business – www.designer-diamonds.com – has two locations, one in Augsburg and the other in nearby Munich, and it is known for its engagement and wedding jewelry, and a focus on diamonds. It also serves as a wholesale distributor for US jewelers in the European market.


I met Chris for the first time in person at JCK Las Vegas in August 2021, but I had keenly followed him prior to that through his work with the Young Diamantaires initiative. There, he is responsible for organizing global events for the group, various online networking happenings and webinars.


Chris is a do-er and among those taking a proactive role in the industry, despite not being in one of the big centers. Oh, and did I mention he’s also a tour guide in Augsburg and brews his own beer. Man, I’ve got to get over there. In the meantime, I’ll settle for a drink the next time I see him, hopefully soon.


Meet Chris everyone…


This article first appeared on LinkedIn in January 2022.

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