About Korman Fine Jewelry
Established in 1973, Korman Fine Jewelry is an Austin original. For nearly 50 years, Russell “Rusty” Korman built a reputation as Austin’s leading independent jeweler on the bedrock values of honesty, integrity and generously contributing to the community. Hoping to carry on these values, Kat and Larry Stokes approached Rusty about purchasing his business and a few months later, in November 2018, they struck a deal.
“As I got to know Larry and Kat, I just felt instinctively that they would continue to operate with the transparency and integrity that are so important to me and our customers,” Russell Korman said of the transition. “Most independent jewelers have gone by the wayside unless a family member will take it over. KORMAN will be here for the next 30 years. I’m leaving my customers in good hands.”
Rusty began his career selling beads in Austin in 1973 on “The Drag,” which refers to the section of Guadalupe Street that runs along the western edge of the University of Texas at Austin. He eventually opened a bead store called Russell’s, first at Dobie Mall and later at Highland Mall. He sold the business to a friend in 1979 and took a few years off before opening Russell Korman Jewelers, a hybrid jewelry retailer and wholesaler, on Congress Avenue in 1983.
Fast forward to today and its beautiful 6,000-square foot gallery where customers can see and hold rare, exclusive goods located on the chic shopping corridor of Burnet Road. With three master jewelers and watchmakers onsite, Korman offers the best and most comprehensive in-house jewelry and watch repair in Central Texas.
“We are a full service jewelry boutique,” said Larry Stokes. “Customers have peace of mind when servicing their family’s heirlooms.” This convenience along with personal service, custom design, reserved parking, and friendly sales staff are key to the Korman experience. “We will honor the KORMAN legacy by continuing to give back to the community that has supported it for the last 45 years. We will also bring fresh energy and offer customers a new experience when they walk in the door.”
“We love Austin and are excited to be a part of this amazing community,” said Kat Stokes. “We look forward to getting to serve our clients and friends, new and old. We strive to offer classic jewelry pieces but with a bit of Austin flare. Our customers are well traveled and they want to see and experience something different. We hope to cater to all ages and have just the perfect token to commemorate any occasion. The most rewarding part of what we do is getting to help celebrate life milestones with our clients.”
Meet The Team
A native Texan and University of Texas graduate, Kat is thrilled to be able to serve the greater Austin community when is comes to buying commemorative pieces or redesigning family heirlooms. Celebrating everyday has quickly become the new motto at Korman, as every piece tells a story.
Born in Amarillo and raised in Tyler, TX Larry is a graduate from Arizona State University where he studied business and shortly thereafter joined his family operation in Tyler, Susan Robinson Fine Jewelry. After 15 years, Larry stepped out to assist Richard Eiseman, of Eiseman Jewels in Dallas’ NorthPark Center. In addition to his experience Larry has extensive Swiss timepiece training and jewelry buying that include travels to Switzerland, New York, Israel, and Hong Kong. He is also a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) diamond graduate. Larry is committed to "The KORMAN Legacy" serving central Texas, while offering the very best and finest pieces in the world.
Trey Gebhardt, WOSTEP, Watchmaker
Trey is a graduate of the prestigious North American Institute of Swiss Watchmaking where he received the highly respected WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program) Certification. He is extremely excited to bring his knowledge and expertise to the Korman Team where he can pair this world-class training and education along with his passion of watchmaking to provide the highest quality service to each of our customers. Trey’s interests outside of work include fitness, attending live sporting events and supporting Austin’s diverse restaurant and bar scene.
Nina joined the Korman team in 2001 with six years of fine jewelry, watch and Aloha experience from the island of Maui. “I was thrilled to discover a family-owned store that was reputable, gracious, fun and still had a chill Austin vibe”. Nina specializes in Swiss timepieces and designer jewelry. She recently attended Rolex service training and will take care of your watch or jewelry repair like it was her own. Assisting clients in selecting the perfect timepiece or picking a wonderful gift for a loved one is her passion. “I love getting to know the customers and seeing the confident look when the right watch is placed on their wrist. That happiness and connection makes my day”. Nina will help give you the best Korman experience that you deserve.
Jeanie Collier has been a part of Korman Fine Jewelry for over 30 years. Growing up in Austin, she began working for the company part-time in high school. After graduating from Westlake High School, she went on to pursue two Merchandising degrees. Her creative eye and attention to detail has allowed her to become a valuable member of our sales team at Korman. Stanley Marcus referenced the art of salesmanship “to be able to visualize something for someone and make them see it”. At Korman Fine Jewelry, we strive to create a shopping experience for every customer, that allows them to envision that special piece of jewelry or timepiece as part of their personal life story.
Having grown up in West Lake Hills and graduating from The University of Texas, Brooke Winfrey is a lifetime Austinite. Her love of jewelry drew her to Korman in 1985, and she's never left. She truly enjoys getting to know her clients personally, educating them in all things diamonds and fine jewelry. When she's not at Korman, you can find her on the golf course or traveling the globe with her family.
Sara, a proud Austin Native graduated from Texas State University. She started working at Russell Korman in 2009. Sara enjoys sharing her knowledge about watches and spends most of her time overseeing watch repairs. In her free time she likes to travel, spend time with family and friends, and cheer on the Houston Astros. Sara loves the local and friendly vibe the store provides and is excited for the future of Korman Fine Jewelry.
Vivian Castanon- Herschap
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Vivian began her career in jewelry in 1985 with Russell Korman. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas. Given her thirty plus years in the jewelry industry, Vivian is committed to providing her clients with a wonderful and unique experience that keeps them coming back! When she isn’t working you can either find her in the gym, trying out the newest cool Austin restaurant or relaxing in West Texas.
Laura Ornelas- Ivy
Laura Ivy has been with Korman Fine Jewelry for almost 30 years. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, then started in sales at Kormans in 1990. Eventually she started handling the colored stone department. Soon after that, she moved into selling and buying diamonds which she did for about 10 years, before becoming the silver and fashion jewelry buyer. Laura has been spending more time behind the scenes lately, working in inventory control, shipping and receiving, and handling the jewelry repair processing. But she always looks forward to seeing the kids of her long time customers come into the store to buy their jewelry. She is very excited to see what is in the future for Korman Fine Jewelry. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and yoga. And she especially loves a night out seeing her favorite local Austin bands downtown.
“Every day brings new adventures and I love the atmosphere at the store,” says Heidi. With more than 10 years at Korman Fine Jewelry, Heidi enjoys supporting the staff and customers. Most of her work is behind the scenes where she leans on her varied business and accounting background, including running a small charitable foundation for over 20 years. Heidi's experience and her love of her role helps her to go the extra mile for positive customer experiences.
Suzanne began her career with fine jewelry in 2001. With a fascination for beautiful pieces that make a woman feel even more beautiful, fine jewelry quickly became her passion. At Korman, Suzanne pitches in wherever she is needed to extend the Korman experience to everyone. When not working, Suzanne enjoys being outdoors and hitting the trails with her husband and dog.
Brian Tompkins, WOSTEP, Watchmaker
Brian is a graduate of North Seattle Watch Technology Institute with a WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training Education Program) Certification. As part of our Watchmaking Team, Brian strives to provide his passion, experience and knowledge with every timepiece he works with ensuring the highest customer gratification. Brian is taking his watchmaking skills and knowledge a step further by making individual watch parts as a hobby, with the hopes that one day he can bring the craft of watchmaking to your wrist. At Korman Fine Jewelry, he not only gets to do something he loves, but he is establishing relationships with others founded on the passion for timepieces.
Originally from Georgia, Eric has lived in several different regions of the United States. He’s now thrilled to call Austin home. Eric began his Jewelry career in 2002, specializing in bridal jewelry and helping the dreams of couples in love come true. He finds it incredibly satisfying to search for and find the perfect diamond for the most important ring she’ll ever wear. He’s had the pleasure of managing some amazing people in jewelry stores in Seattle, WA and Austin. “Although I’m relatively new to the Korman family, from the first moment I sat across from Larry in the interview, I knew I had found a home where I could provide the best for my customers.” When he’s not working, you’ll find Eric enjoying what Austin has to offer: live music, paddle boarding, running around town lake, and of course the great cuisine.
A resident of Austin since 2005. Jacqueline is a University of Colorado alum and a Graduate Jeweler Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America. Jacqueline brings over 2 decades of experience in jewelry to KORMAN , and has held jobs in nearly every aspect of the jewelry industry on both coasts, most recently in estate and antique. Jacqueline's passion for jewelry, gems and watches is what drives her to always learn more from her clientele.
Evelyne Ferrero Carrera
Evelyne comes back to us after 25 years in Costa Rica. She worked for Russell Korman in the wholesale department in the early 1990’s. She attended the University of Costa Rica and the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on Liberal Arts and Interior Design. She established and operated the first Interior Design Center in Costa Rica, where she offered products and services to high end resort home owners and hospitality project designers. Evelyne brings her management and quality control experience to shipping and inventory logistics at Korman Fine Jewelry. She enjoys Austin’s outdoors, and shares her leisure time with her family and rescued pets.
Cristóbal Leon Fores
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cristobal recently transferred to the Austin area. He has a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Masters in International Business. Cristóbal brings 17 years of experience in retail, previously worked 5 years at the OMEGA Boutique in Puerto Rico where he acquired extensive training in high end timepieces. He is extremely passionate about the watch industry and loves helping clients on their quest to find the perfect timepiece.
Brittany Folgate is a Marketing Manager who is responsible for driving market demand and further growing the Korman brand. Prior to joining the Korman family, Brittany spent six years as a Community Relations and Events Manager in the Austin area. She has a deep-rooted love of relationship building, developing strategy, and creative marketing. Brittany enjoys traveling with her husband, taking her dog Bear to Lady Bird Lake, and checking out the latest movie at her favorite place, Alamo DraftHouse.