Celebrating 40 Years of Jul B. Dizon: How the Company Became One of the Most Influential Jewelers in the Philippines

  • July 12, 2018

Barely out of grade school, a young girl named Jul Bañas was learning the jewelry business. Her mother, the late Paz Bañas, had founded Golden Earnings Jewelry Store, which was located at Manila’s jewelry row on Bambang Street. Although she had originally resented having to work on her free time (weighing diamonds isn’t exactly a typical hobby for a 12-year-old girl), she was on the road to fulfilling her destiny. In the not so distant future, she would become Jul B. Dizon, the matriarch and head of one of the country’s most influential jewelry companies.

As the years went by, Jul’s interest in the family business began to grow. She became more devoted in learning the trade, working beside her mother in the store and acquiring knowledge on how to build a rapport with their clients. Her exposure with the plateros (goldsmiths) in the backroom sparked a creativity in the young woman, who would eventually begin designing jewelry to sell in their shop. She also looked up to her mother’s hands-on management style. In a 2010 article entitled A Jewel of a Mentor by Cynthia V. Subjano, Jul shared that her mother’s training contributed “in building my confidence level and brought me to where I am now.” Paz also encouraged her to expand her network, asking Jul to attend social events to meet new people. As she further honed her craft, she finally mustered the confidence to open her first store. Jul B. Dizon opened in 1978, and quickly established itself as a force to be reckoned with.

A young Jul B. Dizon
A young Jul B. Dizon
A 2017 editorial for Jul B. Dizon in Lifestyle Asia showcased their expert skills in jewelry making (Photograph by Yukie Sarto)
A 2017 editorial for Jul B. Dizon in Lifestyle Asia showcased their expert skills in jewelry making (Photograph by Yukie Sarto)

The Most Awarded Jeweler in the Philippines

“My first memory of when my mother first involved me in the business was at the young age of seven,” shared Candy Dizon in a candid interview. “We were at her jewelry shop in Ortigas Avenue and my sister (Janina) and I, were tasked to keep the jewelry from the showcases to boxes so it can be placed inside the safe for the night. We carefully put the jewels in the boxes and up until today, it is something that I do.” The family remains to be very active in the growth of the Jul B. Dizon brand. They themselves, design the jewelry. Joining Candy and her sister Janina, are their sisters-in-law Ginny and Lucille, who are now an award winning designer and gemologist, respectively. “We also have 20 goldsmiths that are trained by my brothers, Cedric and CJ. As of right now, I believe that we are the most awarded jewelry company in the Philippines in terms of design,” Candy shared.

This 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of Jul B. Dizon, who remains as popular today as they were when they first entered the Philippine market in the late 1970s. In the four-decade long journey, the jewelry store has been lauded with numerous awards, which includes a President Award for business achievement and prizes in design competitions from the Italian Gold Council, Tanzanite Foundation, Swarovski and Perles de Tahiti. One of their top honors was winning the Diamonds International Awards De Beers. The first Filipino jeweler to do so, the award giving body is often considered to be the Oscars of jewelry industry.

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Jul B Dizon's first Lifestyle Asia Cover, 1994
Jul B Dizon’s first Lifestyle Asia Cover, 1994
The Dizon women graced the cover of Lifestyle Asia for their 30th anniversary in 2008
The Dizon women graced the cover of Lifestyle Asia for their 30th anniversary in 2008

A Family Tradition

It wasn’t sheer luck that helped establish the company as being one of the Philippine’s finest products. Apart from the hard work put in by the entire family, Jul B. Dizon makes sure that their customer experience is like no other. As Paz taught her daughter in the shop on Bambang St., building a good relationship with customers is everything. Jul, herself, was known to be a glamourous, elegant lady—a friend to everyone. Today, her children have the same reputation, circulating with Manila’s elite crowd, whom they have found a strong clientele in. But more than that, they want to ensure that they work closely with their customers (especially those who order bespoke pieces), making sure that the end product is something they’d be proud to wear and proud to pass on to their children afterwards.

Midnight Bonkers Productions published a documentary on their YouTube Channel in 2013 with Cedric Dizon explaining the process of how a piece is made and delivered to their customers. It all starts with a design by one of the family members, who shows it to their production team to see if it’s feasible to make. Once it is approved, the designer shows the client and waits for a go-signal. When that is agreed upon, the designer goes back to production to specify the quantity of gold, the color of the gold, the size of the diamonds, and what other materials need to be incorporated into the piece. One last go-signal from the client is needed before the expert team behind the brand gets to work on building the actual jewelry piece. “Quality is very important,” shared Cedric in the film, who says the piece needs to beautiful from top to bottom.

One of the brand’s many champions includes actress Lucy Torres Gomez, who is often spotted sporting a piece from Jul B. Dizon. In the same documentary, she explains the exhilarating feeling of opening a packaging and seeing the jewelry for the first time. One of her pieces, she shares, even has her initials incorporated in the design. Candy Dizon says that it is very important for the family to make sure that the brand continues to move towards the future. “We ride with the times. We keep up with trends and sometimes, even try to be the setter. We have welcomed the importance of making our presence felt online. Our designs have evolved along with the way our clients prefer their jewelry.”

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Lucille Dizon, Janina Dizon-Hoschka, Ginny Dizon and Candy Dizon (Photograph by Yukie Sarto)
Lucille Dizon, Janina Dizon-Hoschka, Ginny Dizon and Candy Dizon (Photograph by Yukie Sarto)

New Generation of Dizon Jewelers  

Today, the third generation of Dizons, Jul’s children, run the show. “We all started out as runners or secretaries. We would make her calls, clean the shop, display the jewelry in the morning and keep them at night. As we grew older, we would handle clients. Only when mom was confident enough of our skills, did she step back to semi-retire and that’s when we would become designers. We now manage the shops,” shared Candy. Jul B. Dizon has two shops in Metro Manila, one at the Peninsula Manila and the other at EDSA Shangri-La hotel.

Candy continued to state that everyone in the family knew that they would somehow be involved with the business, because Jul had created a such clear path for them to follow, “We are however, open to express our skills and hobbies in any way we choose, but being a jeweler is really something that you inherit because it is built on a foundation that is essentially good (trust, creativity, discipline, passion and integrity).” The siblings are also now carefully grooming the fourth generation to take over the business. “My daughters and nieces are of age and little by little, we are exposing them to this bejeweled world, and fortunately, they seem to be interested and see the possibility of being in a work place that they can love, express their creativity and still, earn from.”

This July, for the 40th anniversary celebration, the company is following the theme of HOMAGE, showcasing iconic pieces by Jul B. Dizon, that her children are now re-interpreting. “This was a challenge because we had to create designs that are out of our safety zones. It made us explore deeper within our creative box. The outcome is truly something that my mom would totally be proud of,” mentioned Candy on the eve of the anniversary celebration at the Peninsula Manila.

As the family continues to plan for a new year in the business, they are as strong as ever. It is no surprise that the company has thrived over the last half century. This is all due in thanks to the hard work of the tight-knit family, their artistic talents and driven business ethic, straight-forward leadership style, goldsmiths and dedicated staff, and the memory of the great woman and society icon that is Jul B. Dizon.