At the grand opening of Al Momentum Jewelry and Watch Repair in Preston Royal Southwest, attendees were surprised to learn that the entertainment, a harpist, was also the owner.
Alberto “Al” Giraldo loves to work with his hands. While his job requires him to handle delicate pieces with care and precision, he never intended on entering the jewelry repair game.
Originally from Colombia, Giraldo decided to study medicine, specializing in trauma surgery. In 2006, he came to the United States, when he decided to participate in a medical internship that would allow him to learn English and continue his medical education.
After he finished the program, he still had two years left on his visa. In 2007, after spending nearly a decade in medical schools and residencies, Giraldo was offered an opportunity that would allow him to remain in the U.S.
“I finished what I was supposed to do in this hospital, and so I said, ‘well, I have two more years of this visa, so I can stay, or go back,” Giraldo said.
When a friend contacted him with a job opportunity, he moved from Florida to Texas to work in a jewelry store in Cleburne. That’s where he learned the jewelry repair business, along with buying and selling pieces.
Two years later, married and settled in the Texas, Giraldo decided he would buy the store, which was closing in order to relocate. As his business grew, Giraldo began to receive clientele from the Preston Hollow area.
“I had to come pick up, repair it, bring it to Cleburne, come back and forth all the time,” Giraldo said. “There’s a lot of business here. Good business.”
That motivated him to scout the area for a place to open a secondary shop, and in 2013, he opened a location on the second floor of Preston Royal Southwest. In September, Giraldo moved his operations downstairs.
While some would say such a career change was a step down, Giraldo strongly disagrees. In fact, he explains that in a way, his medical training, where he would often pull out fine debris from injuries, helped polish his phalangeal motor skills.
Giraldo said something else that unknowingly prepared him for his new vocation is his musical talent.
“I started with the piano and guitar, and then I realized there’s a lot of people who play piano and guitar,” Giraldo said. “Then I saw someone playing the harp. I wanted to do something different.”
For his 12th birthday, Giraldo’s mother surprised him with his own harp. He has been playing ever since. His skill has earned invitations to play for friends’ weddings, and to play with church ensembles.
But his hobby has done more for him than served as a means of relaxation. It has also helped him develop a lot of dexterity, a skill very important when working with valuable and delicate pieces.