Hans Luetkemeier is the South's only master gold and silversmith and one of the only European trained craftsmen to practice this 3,000-year-old profession in America. The master goldsmith's creed is to provide the best possible workmanship for the project, no matter what that project may be. Luetkemeier states, "Basically, a gold or silversmith is a builder. He can take a blueprint and reproduce it in silver, gold or platinum. Of course, he's called on to repair jewelry and different metal objects, but even a good jeweler can do that. A goldsmith can take a flat piece of metal and build something unique and beautiful with it." Better jewelers recommend Hans when they have customers who want the best quality and workmanship available. Clients from all over the world return for their jewelry needs. Luetkemeier has been working with precious metals and jewels since he was 14-year-old-boy, growing up in Sennelager, a small German town near Frankfort. His apprenticeship lasted three and one-half years and was quite demanding. He learned many things about working with jewels and precious metal: how to judge quality, the proper tools, and even how to bend a silver spoon correctly. Before attaining the rank of "master," he spent seven years working in shops around Germany, honing his skills and applying what he learned. After immigrating to the United States, he has been operating from a home base in New Orleans since 1965. Hans' daughter-in-law, Erin Bell Luetkemeier, began working with him and learning the business more than four years ago. She attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart and Tulane University in New Orleans. Erin is currently enrolled part-time at the Gemological Institute of America in California working towards her degree as a graduate gemologist. The first store was opened in the late 1960s in the French Quarter and after some years another location was opened in Metairie. In the early 1990s, Hans closed his retail locations in order to concentrate on a new endeavor, wholesale jewelry shows. By the mid to late '90s the company was doing over 40 shows a year in more than 15 cities across the country. In 1999, Erin stopped traveling to most of the jewelry shows and in March she opened a new store location in Metairie. The business boasts an eclectic mix of antique, estate, modern and custom-designed jewelry. The company sells and manufactures its own line of slides and slide bracelets. We also carry many sterling and "fun" jewelry pieces to fit any budget. In addition, the store carries crystal, sterling and pewter gifts and can match almost any old or new sterling flatware pattern. Another specialty is complete sterling or silver-plated repair and restoration. Other services include watch repair, jewelry repair, and appraising.