I am Don Demarest, and I have been active in collectibles, diamond, and gold jewelry, now going on for almost 50 years. Continental Collectibles is my first and only business.
In 1973 I slept on the floor of a 35-foot trailer for about 10 months, working day and night to learn how to be a silversmith. After learning, I borrowed 500 dollars and bought some basic equipment, and started making jewelry.
Within a year, I had 35 employees with my factory in Phoenix supplying jewelry to the Indian Jewelry trade. I did some hard rock mining and refining.
When I was 17, I drove to Newport Beach, living by the ocean, until I ran out of money. I started working as an independent contractor with a significant vendor that I used to sell to and learning the art of jewelry of sale instead of manufacturing. I was fortunate enough To Marry My wife, Nadine. After two years, we started selling diamonds and Gold in California. Continental Gold and Silver Exchange. During the Heyday of the Hunt Brothers silver debacle, we became significant players in the Gold Bullion and investment-grade Collectible’s business, 1982.
An opportunity came up where my team and I invested in a large gold dredging operation in the Amazonas jungle in which $25,000 got us a base camp dredge and a group of five international divers, which we expanded to 2 dredges at the height of the operation. Being a military government at the time, Brazil was challenging to take the metals out of the country. Through a close partnership with a police official, we could trade the metals for diamonds and fine jewelry essential items made their way down to South America. Brazil became a significant source of large diamonds.
We specialize in 3-15 carat stones. This also includes semi-precious mining and gem cutting, continental gold, and silver exchange in Southern California.
It was established in 2008 to specifically deal in the repair, restoration, and replacement of fine art, antiques, and collectibles. It continues to this day, and the experience of all the other ventures and businesses it morphed into a multi-faceted company is terrific.
The antique mall where we did Empire Estate Auctions became a major player in high-end estates, and the Antiques Roadshow sponsored collectibles for three years.
My team and I specialized in Fine Art and Collectibles, doing repair restoration and replacement. The climate was too cold for the work and products we were dealing with, so we moved the operation down to Las Vegas.
This was a niche business that dealt in rarities, oddities, and museum-quality collectibles that had to sell out due to medical issues. I moved to Prescott, Arizona, with my team, where we continued in the Continental Collectibles trade.