Nezam Abdool buffs a gold ring he hand made before dipping it into a vat of rhodium and steam cleaning it by a large sink in the backroom of his store, Starlite Jewelry in Shirley. After that, he carefully passes the ring to his 23-year-old son, Ameer, who places the piece in tissue to keep its form.
“I started learning to make jewelry when I was 7,” said Nezam Abdool, now 44. Abdool used to visit his neighbor in his native Guyana to watch him make jewelry. Eventually, the neighbor taught him how to make jewelry and hired Abdool.
Abdool opened his first shop in Guyana when he was 20. He moved to Brooklyn and opened a shop in Manhattan in 2001, selling wholesale to other Manhattan jewelers.
Abdool moved to Shirley with his wife of 10 years, Venita, 36 last year and opened Starlite on Nov. 17, 2018. Venita Abdool helps around the store and also runs to the city to retrieve pieces for new projects. His two daughters attend the William Floyd School District.
Aaliyah, 9, has already started learning how to steam the jewelry pieces. His youngest, Ameera, is 5 years old.
“I love Long Island more than where I lived before,” Abdool said. “Up here we have more place for our kids to go out and play and the community is a lot more different, more friendly, more interactive. We all love it out here.”
Abdool gets his inspiration from his customers. “If they can dream it, I can make it,” he said.
A large portion of the store’s orders are engagement rings.
“I showed interest about six years ago,” said Ameer Abdool. “It was always something that fascinated me, so I tried it and liked it.”
Nezam Abdool showed his appreciation for the community with a Fourth of July barbecue at his shop. A guest picked a name out of a bin containing previous customers, one of which wone a jewelry piece. It was all captured on Facebook Live.
Abdool said he plans to do the event again in 2020.
Here are some photos of Abdool’s work. Scroll down to select 2 and 3. (Photos by Maria Cestero)