My name is Jim Grahl. I'm nearing 65 years old, 48 of those years have been continuously devoted to jewelry and industrial design. My training initiated with a Los Angeles workshop that was the contract (or outsource) manufacturer for Van Cleef and Arpels, Gump's, Pierre Touraine and many others that were the foundation of the West Coast's fine Art~Jewelry establishment. I have formal apprenticeships in Pave' setting (Gerardo Terranova) and ancillary training in platinum-smithing, machining, and antique musical restoration. My personal business ( J.Grahl Design ) was founded at the outset and has been in continuous operation for 47 years. (as of 2011). I'm a maker-builder at heart. All of the items shown in the photographs and illustrations here, on "Custom Made", are exactly that... Custom Made. You will see many cross over categories in metal, wood, glass and illustration-art. I am deeply involved with both vintage autos and surfing, so items relating to those topics are exposed here as well. There are generally a few of my projects available for live viewing at the Museum at the Gemological Institute of America as well as The San Diego Natural History Museum. The Gemological Institute requires prior notification for a visit.
So enough of me, one's work should speak for itself. Having a piece of work custom made is an enjoyable process if communication is clear, to that end, a phone call, short check list of objectives, mutually agreed upon budget and a few rough sketches are useful in beginning a project. To move forward accurate renderings and a deposit ( along with a delivery date) start the process in motion. A great deal of my work has been commissioned out of state and out of country, so again, clear communication has been critical to those successes.
To explore my work further, please refer to my website:
It is an evolving, on line, library of projects. Feel free to contact me through my email at: JGrahlDesign@earthlink.net
My business offers services in the following areas:
- Project and product development
- Art, originals and prints (Automotive )
- Automotive design (vintage restoration)
- Metal smithing
- Bronze, brass, aluminum, titanium, steel fabrication
- Custom wood working, design, prototyping, (small scale)
- Production development for line items
- Pewter & white metal design & production
- Cast Iron design and production
- Organizing outsourced production for direct client turnover
I have a particular specialty in Natural, South Sea and collectable cultured pearls. Please view, www.NaturalPearlSociety.org
Recommendation by Lisa A Daily
I highly recommend Jim Grahl and J Grahl Design. I have worked with Jim extensively over the years on a number of projects from custom made "from the ground up" jewelry pieces to restyled creations of pins or rings that had been laying forgotten in a closet for decades! Every finished piece is now a treasured work of art; created and interpreted perfectly and solely for me. There are not many true artisans left in the world; Jim is certainly one of them! Lisa A. Daily
Recommendation by B. Marfleet
I have had Jim Grahl design and make jewelry for my wife for 34 years and he is a master craftsman. Always 1st class.
Recommendation by Sylvia Bissonnette Photography
I have worked with Jim Grahl for the past 24 years. I am a professional photographer specializing in jewelry. I have been privileged to photograph most of Jim's jewelry pieces. I can say first hand and critically looking at every facet of them that they are the most beautifully artful and exquisite pieces of jewelry that I have ever seen. Jim is not only a unique artist but a wonderful and caring person as well.
Recommendation by Charles Holt
I have known Jim for over 40yrs and he has worked in the jewelry design and custom manufacturing industry for almost 50yrs. He has designed and built projects from $100's to million $ projects. He is well known in the industry and respected as a fair and honest person. The artistry extends into projects including cars, surfing industry, pearls, art and more. Jim is a committed father and works in the community for charities and betterment of the city. I would recommend him for being able to bring insight and extensive experience to any project.
Recommendation by Frances Powell.
I am fortunate to have a few custom pieces of jewlery designed for me by Jim Grahl. They are magnificent. The designs are perfect and the quality of the workmanship is exceptional. I highly recommend Jim. Frances P
Recommendation by Michael Zibman.
"I have known Jim Grahl for more than 20 years and along the way we have done many projects together. Some of the projects have been rather small but others have been quite extensive. All of them seem to carry the same importance to Jim and he puts in the same amount of creativity and care whether large or small. The process is fun, creative and very rewarding. I would highly recommend working with Jim for custom jewelry and since he is creative outside of the jewelry arena and I would recommend looking at his website to see some of the other things he is capable of. There are not many artists left that do what Jim does, old world craftsmanship with new technology. An ability to create what most people think is no longer available, attention to every detail after great research and the ability to utilize an incredible network of craftsmen to assist in any project."
Recommendation by Rick Strollo
August 11, 2011 TO: Jim Grahl Design Dear Jim, I have installed the period correct battery disconnect switch & back-plate you created for me onto the rear quarter of my 1929 Dry Lakes Street Roadster. The functional piece of 3-D artwork is stunning & totally in character for the late forty’s era I was seeking to reflect. I’m fortunate to have found such a focused & caring person with skills like no one I have ever seen. I once thought it impossible to find someone as particular to minute details as I am, but you left me dazzled by the way you put pencil to paper, clearly illustrated our two visions & involved me with the machining & engineering process which for me was the fascinating part. As small as this project was Jim, I cannot express how much it meant to me to work with you. I love my Roadster, display it in many venues & I’m proud now more than ever to showcase it. Subtle details like this battery cut-off switch & backplate are what makes the difference, creates the interest & draws the onlookers closer! I can’t wait to work with you again on a charm bracelet project I'm considering!
Recommendation by Tom Garrett
I couldn't give a higher recommendation for a custom made jeweler. This man is a true genius in his profession and an artist/craftsman extraodinaire. Mr, Grahl has worked with my family for years, and with our friends and others that we have referred to him. All his clients are always extremely satisfied and amazed by his vision and the quality of his work. From personal jewelry items to collectible pieces, such as chess sets or Faberge-type egg masterpieces, his work is a wonder to behold.
Recommendation by T DOANE
Jim Grahl is a highly trained, very creative and skilled artisan that I have had fabricate many original pieces of jewelry. He is a wonderful person to work with, gives the customer as much time is necessary to translate their vision to a beautiful piece of jewelry and is very receptive to the customer's input. His workmanship is of the highest quality, comparable to the most prestigious jewelry names.
Recommendation by G. Okada
Jim Grahl is a talented jeweler and designer. Jim has designed several pieces for me over the past 15 years including my wife’s and my wedding rings. One project included designing a tie tack, pistol grip and a key chain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau’s “Bulldog” logo. Jim provides excellent customer service and makes himself easily available. I would highly recommend Jim to design and create any piece, from simple to complex.
Recommendation by Ron Paasch
Jim only does high quality work and is easy to work with. Have worked on several projects over the years all with excellent outcomes. Highly recommend.
Recommendation by B.Mor
I, Benny Mor, President of Ever Precious, Inc. a diamond company; and B.Mor, Inc., a jewelry company; state hereby that I have known Jim Grahl, for the last 25 years. During those years, Jim Grahl has been a tremendous asset in helping us designing several jewelry lines and collections for our B.Mor Company. His creativity and professionalism has been a great contribution to our product development. He is expects nothing but the best of himself and reaching perfection is therefore very high on his list. Jim knows diamonds and he does know jewelry. He worked on different projects for us and we can only highly recommend him for any consulting on design, product development, marketing and photography, etc. Sincerely, Benny Mor President - Ever Precious, Inc.
Recommendation by Donald Ross
We have been working with Jim Grahl for more than 10 years on many different projects, from helping him translate his visions into CAD files to having him hand fabricate amazing pieces of jewelry and master models for our customers. In my experience as a jewelry manufacturer it is rare to come across such a fine craftsman and unique visionary combined in one person. His experience is vast, his skills are exceptional and, best of all, he's fun to work with. Whatever your jewelry project Jim can help you to make it come to fruition. Recommendation by Michael W. Hager, Ph.D., President & CEO, San Diego Natural History Museum Jim Grahl and his team of artisans has produced the most beautiful hand made "egg" imaginable. It opens to an exact replica of the historic Balboa Park Carousel and the music box plays 26 beautiful tunes. The red enameled egg sparkles with an incredible array of gold and precious gems. Words can not adequately describe teh beauty of this object or the passion of the team that spent 18 years producing this one of a kind masterpiece. The "egg" has been the most popular attraction in our two year gem and mineral exhibition, "All That Glitters." Our guests are incredulous upon hearing the story of the egg and the passion and skill of the team that produced it. Not only has Jim and his team loaned the "egg" for the enjoyment of our guests, but Jim has volunteered to do many presentations for the public as well as donors to the exhibition. The egg is just as incredible as the team that made it. It is gratifying to know that "old world craftsmanship" is alive and well today in a few places in America.
Recommendation by Juliana Gambrell
Jim is one of the FINEST CRAFTSMAN I know. Not only can he translate what you desire into the most beautiful custom piece of work - he also brings tremendous creativity and subtle nuances to enhance and delight the final piece. His understanding of materials and attention to detail is impressive. I have been working with Jim for years. I trust his impecciblity, his talent and I LOVE the results.
Recommendation by Mark H. Lyons
I have known Jim Grahl for more than 25 years, during which time he has designed and fabricated a stunning and timeless collection of exquisite jewelry for my wife. Independent appraisers have consistently confirmed that Jim's workmanship is unsurpassed in quality and style. In the course of my relationship with Jim I have come to know and appreciate his genius for jewel crafting and constant creative spirit. He works hard to understand his client's vision and desires and brings them beautifully to life. I believe he is one of the most talented designers and craftsmen anywhere, and I recommend him most highly. One is privileged to be able to work with Jim Grahl.
Recommendation by Roger DeWeese
My wife and I have known James Grahl (Jim to us) both personally and professionally for many years. Jim is both an exceptional designer and technician whose talents can also extend in many design directions. He has made many unique and wonderful jewelry pieces for us, our friends and our relatives. We have also found the need for Jim to repair the work of others. I have been in an unrelated design profession all of my professional life yet, when I have gone to Jim with a concept for something new for my wife for example, Jim always finds a way to improve on both the concept and the details of the designs. Best of all, Jim’s designs and his constructions endure both aesthetically and physically and have lasting emotional and monetary value. Jim can make anything that you can think of but we recommend that you go to him with an idea, stand back, give him his head and see what he will come up with. If your priorities are uniqueness and quality we know that you will not be disappointed with the work of James Grahl.
Recommendation by Elise B. Misiorowski, Exhibit Curator - All ThatGlitters
Jim Grahl is a talented designer and fabricator of exquisite jewelry and fabulous jeweled objects. He works exceptionally well with clients to design pieces that will suit their tastes and interests. Over the 10 years that I have known him, Jim Grahl has generously loaned several of his fabulous creations for display at museums for the public to see. Notable among these pieces is the Balboa Park Carousel Egg - an exact, miniature replica of the beloved Balboa Park Carousel encased in a jeweled and enameled gold egg sitting atop an antique music box. When wound, the carousel goes around, the animals go up and down, and the music box plays 20 tunes from 1900. It took Jim, and a team of professionals under his direction, over 18 years to complete this astonishingly beautiful and complex jeweled object. This magical piece is on display in the "All That Glitters" exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park through April 8, 2012. Jim Grahl brings the same creativity, good humor, and attention to detail to all his work, be it a necklace, a ring, a jeweled chess set, a pair of earrings, or a miniature carousel. He is an important jeweler of this era whose work will stand the test of time.
Recommendation by Deric Ikuta
Jim recently made our engagement ring for us, and we could not be happier. He listened to what we wanted and made exactly what we wanted with a high level of quality and artistry.
Recommendation by Ken Hada
Excellent communication and quality work. Couldn't have asked for a bettertransaction.
Recommendation by Terri Ottaway - Curator, GIA Museum
It is a pleasure to recommend Jim Grahl to those of you who appreciate fine craftsmanship, perfection and an enthusiastic spirit that won't quit. I have got to know Jim over several years during which he and his remarkable team worked on the final assembly of the now-famous Balboa Park Carousel Egg. I continue to be enthralled by his vision and creativity; no detail is too small. Just as impressive is Jim's ability to motivate others to achieve new heights in innovative design and workmanship. Jim is a mentor’s mentor.
Recommendation by Chase R.
I have used Jim Grahl for several custom jewelry projects and they have all turned out fantastic! Jim really listens to what the client wants and designs the piece around the individual. He is calm, collected, and has walks you through the whole process. I have used Jim to produce my engagement ring, wedding rings, and other custom items and will be using him again for sure. I wholeheartedly endorse Jim Grahl and whatever projects he takes on.
Recommendation by Chris Van Dusen
I highly recommend Jim Grahl and J Grahl Design. I used Jim to create an one of a kind engagement ring. He took my vision and created and expanded on it, creating an amazing work of art. My finance is using Jim for our wedding rings and we could not be happier. I recommend Jim if you want a custom piece of jewelry that is both timeless and of the highest craftsmanship. He is fantastic to work with and takes the time to get to know you and what you are trying to convey and fully captures that in his work.
Recommendation by Thomas Powell.
Jim Grahl has designed many great jewelry pieces for me. He is a true artist with the ability to take a concept and create exactly what you are looking for. Every piece he has created for me, from the smallest to the most extravagant are simply beautiful. I highly recommend you try Jim for your next jewelry project. You will not be disappointed.
Recommendation by Rhonda Jackson
I sent jim a photo I'd a design I wanted and he was able to create exactly what I wanted. Great Quality work at a very reasonable price. He was very easy to work work and delivered when promised.