Diamonds are forever: Michael's Jewelers in downtown Phoenix still goes strong, 70 years later

A beloved jewelry store owner continues to bring diamonds and smiles to the people of Phoenix more than 70 years after opening the shop in 1950.

He’s full of fun stories and memories from over the years, and he does his best to keep up with the times while staying true to old traditions.

"I am totally old school, I don't even carry a phone in my pocket," said Michael Strong, owner of Michael's Jewelers.

A lot has changed in over 70 years that Strong has run his jewelry store on Central Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Phoenix.

"I watched them build the Chase Bank building over there. That was a long time ago," Strong said.

He opened the shop in 1950, right after serving in World War II.

Now, at 102 years old, he's still going strong.

"I eat good, I drink good, I laugh good, I play good, I do all the good things," Strong said. "I'll make you a ring if you want, fix your watch if you want."

His shop is one of the longest-running businesses downtown, and the century-old owner managed to keep things going even amid the pandemic.

"We don't let more than one person in at a time unless it's a couple that wants to come in," he said.

He has plenty of stories from over the years.

"Sonny from Sonny and Cher, he says, 'Honey, I'm just looking at watches.' She says, ‘What do you need that [for], you have 100 watches!’"

Plus, Strong certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to jewelry.

"Silver's great, but you need a ton of it," he said. "Diamond's used almost in all kinds of tools because it's so hard it can cut through anything." 

But what he's best at - and known for - is making people happy.

"If someone leaves without a smile, they'll come back, and we'll put one on for them," he said.

And that smile is priceless.

"Everybody asks me why don't you retire," he said. "I am retired. I am doing what I want to do, I'm enjoying it, and I'll do it as long as I can!"

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