Jose Torres

EcoKarat Jewelry’s glittering storefront on Marion Street may look like your usual jewelry shop, with gorgeous silver, gold, and jeweled pieces on display in the window, but EcoKarat is so much more.

A family-run business dedicated to environmentally friendly practices, this shop is a true gem in Downton Oak Park. Offering services that range from custom designs to repairs of old favorites, EcoKarat strives “to be at the forefront of ethical craftsmanship”.

DTOBA had a chance to ask the owner and master jeweler, Jose Torres, about his shop, his services, and what it is like to be a business owner in Downtown Oak Park.

How did you become a jeweler?

“I have always loved jewelry, and my interest in the craft only grew stronger as I got older. I had the privilege of learning from my uncle in Ecuador, who instilled in me a deep appreciation for attention to detail and a passion for custom designs. When I founded EcoKarat Jewelry, I knew I wanted to make a meaningful difference in the world of jewelry. I wanted to embrace the concept of eco-friendly jewelry, and so I began infusing unconventional materials like glass, shells, and recycled metals into my designs. Our commitment to sustainability only grew stronger, and we now specialize in creating exquisite eco-friendly jewelry that reflects both elegance and consciousness.”

Why did you choose Downtown Oak Park for your business?

“Downtown Oak Park was a natural choice for our business. It’s a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming community that aligns perfectly with our values. We’ve been part of this community for over 15 years, engaging with its amazing residents and fostering lasting connections. We strive to be more than just a jewelry store; we aim to be an integral part of the community and contribute to its vibrant spirit.”

What types of services can people find in your business?

“In our store, customers can find a range of exceptional services, including custom designs and repairs on all jewelry, buying gold, and even same-day services for certain needs. We take pride in our ability to recycle old gold and breathe new life into customer designs, making sustainability a core part of our offerings. Whether it’s crafting custom engagement rings or repairing glasses and clocks, we’re here to cater to our client’s diverse needs and provide an exceptional experience.”

What makes your business unique?

“What sets us uniquely apart is our ability to offer in-store custom designs and repairs, coupled with our identity as a Latino-owned small business operated by our family. We take pride in creating meaningful connections with our customers through our craft and sustainable practices. The joy in our work lies in creating exquisite custom jewelry designs that hold special meaning for our customers. We find fulfillment in collaborating with them, turning their visions into reality, and crafting unique pieces that reflect their individuality. It’s a privilege to be part of their jewelry journey and to witness the smiles on their faces when they wear our creations.”

What do you enjoy most about your work?

“I absolutely love creating custom jewelry designs that hold special meaning for our customers. Collaborating with our clients and bringing their visions to life is truly fulfilling. It’s also incredibly rewarding to be able to use eco-friendly materials and ethical craftsmanship in our designs, knowing that we are making a positive impact on the environment. Seeing the joy on our client’s faces when they wear our creations is the ultimate reward and makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

What do you like about being part of the Downtown Oak Park business community? 

“I enjoy being part of the Downtown Oak Park business community because of the engagement with fellow businesses and the collaborative spirit that is at the heart of everything. The community excels in creating a sense of togetherness through diverse events that bring businesses and residents together. It is truly fulfilling to contribute to this thriving community and see the positive impact we can make together.”

If you have jewelry design or repair needs, keep EcoKarat in mind!

131 North Marion Street, Oak Park, Illinois 60301, United States