By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE - When George Portobanco first became a jeweler 25 years ago, he knew it was in his blood.
"My grandfather was a watchmaker and my uncle is a master jeweler," he said.
Mr. Portobanco used his knowledge and experience to open his own jewelry store, Swiss Jewelers, in Stuart. Five years ago, the store found its home in the community of Port St. Lucie.
"Port St. Lucie has been good to me," he said. "I have a lot of repeat customers, and I'm constantly busy."
Mr. Portobanco also does his share of giving back to the community.
To two churches, Holy Family in Port St. Lucie and St. Martin De Porres Parish Church in Jensen Beach, he gives back 10 percent of what their parishioners spend every month. He also donates jewelry pieces to thrift stores to help them raise money.
His store is located in Crossroads Center, at the corner of Port St. Lucie Boulevard and U.S. 1.
Inside, the walls have a variety of different styles of artwork, and the many cases are filled with not only necklaces and rings, but watches and coins, as well.
One of the personal touches that Swiss Jewelers offers is watch and jewelry repair on the premises. It is certified by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, as well as being licensed and insured by the state.
"Everything is done on the premises," Mr. Portobanco said. "There's a personal service having a watchmaker be the owner. I have all the tools and everything."
In addition to watches from Invicta to Rolex, he also sells men's jewelry, engagement and wedding rings, and unique women's jewelry.
"I offer a lot of custom-made designs," he said.
Swiss Jewelers is also one of the first jewelry stores in the area to buy gold. But they also buy other items.
"We not only buy gold, but silver, coins, watches, diamonds, artwork and antiques," he said. "We also do estate buys."
Swiss Jewelers is located at 10634 U.S. 1 in Port St. Lucie. For more information, call George Mr. Portobanco at (772) 224-2769 or (772) 324-1106, or go online to www.SwissJewelersLLC.com.