Once upon a time a man and his bride lived in a land far, far away called Payson, Arizona. Their names were Chad and Melissa Overman. They both loved things of beauty and intangible things like love, devotion, and keeping covenant promises. They worked hard at the business they loved and kept the fires of passion and devotion burning. They took gemstones and fine minerals from the earth, gave thanks for them and turned them into exquisite pieces of jewelry. They made their living selling their jewelry to all kinds of people, many of whom became not only return customers but treasured friends. The name of their store was Overman’s Designs. Chad and Melissa have a beautiful daughter, Kaylee, who is their princess and they fill her with their love of all things good and beautiful.
In the meantime, in another land (closer to home) there was a woman who liked to write stories about her community and the people who lived there. She loved to share the beauty and uniqueness of each story with anyone who cared to read about them. This woman had a friend named Marie whom she and her husband met one time while visiting Young, Arizona. Marie and her husband, Jim, had searched all over the west for a special place to live out their dream of owning a winery which they found in Young. The two couples would meet once a year in January to catch up on their year and share lunch.
One year the date was set for the annual meeting, but Marie showed up alone. She gave them the sad news that Jim had suddenly passed away. Marie was sad but resolute as she had decided to sell the winery. She talked a lot about a young couple whom she befriended a while back who owned a jewelry store in Payson and to whom she had grown even closer since Jim’s passing. She loved to talk about their little princess – how smart and remarkable she was. Her name was Kaylee.
The following January the woman and Marie had a great time catching up on life at their annual lunch. Marie mentioned the comedian Gallagher was coming to Payson and she loved his humor and was buying tickets for her friends. The woman replied how much fun that would be, and Marie graciously invited her and her husband to join them. The Overmans were coming, Marie explained, and she really would love for the woman to not only meet them but also to consider writing a story about them and their splendid business if she was interested.
A few weeks later the woman’s Gallagher tickets arrived in the mail with a short note from Marie with instructions about meeting the Overmans. The woman searched with no luck for Marie’s phone number but was so distracted by her deadline at work that she forgot to call and let her know she got them. Time passed and when the woman remembered to look more thoroughly, there was no phone number to be found. “Marie must think I’m terribly ungrateful. I’ll at least send her an email to let her know and apologize,” she thought to herself. Oddly enough, Marie never answered the email.
A few days before the Gallagher performance, the woman called Chad Overman to confirm their interview appointment. “Yes,” he said, “We are planning on seeing you.” So, the big day arrived, and the woman and her husband drove to Payson for their planned interview and to meet up with Marie. When they pulled into the Safeway shopping center where Overman’s Designs is located, they both looked for Marie’s rather large pickup but couldn’t see it. Maybe, she’s running late they thought. They went into the store which was full of customers, obviously very busy. The husband left to run errands while the woman sat down to wait for things to clear out a bit.
Chad came over to see if he could help the woman. He was very friendly and with his high energy explained they were very blessed and he was glad to meet her. Shortly after, Melissa came from the back and introduced herself to the woman. Melissa is lovely and petite and has a way of talking about life and love like a fairy tale princess. Melissa told the woman her two dreams in life were to have a chandelier that spins and a golden mistletoe. “There is something magical about mistletoe,” said Melissa. “I hang it in the entryway of the store since our jewelry is about showing love in a tangible way. We offer chocolate kisses for all our customers as well as a parting gift of a wooden coin good for two kisses from a loved one because they’ve passed under the mistletoe. I had hung a plastic mistletoe for years since I couldn’t find a gold one. About a month ago Marie came in with a surprise for me – she had brought me a golden mistletoe! I couldn’t believe she found one; I called her ‘Magic Marie and the Mistletoe!’”
A little girl came out to join Melissa and the woman. “Oh, this is my daughter, Kaylee,” Melissa said. The woman could see why Marie was so fond of her. Kaylee is full of life and energy.
As Melissa continued to talk, something odd occurs to the woman. She suddenly became aware that Melissa was referring to Marie in the past tense…she was grappling with the meaning of Melissa’s words. Melissa looked at the strange look on the woman’s face and then understood why she was getting such a blank stare. “Oh my, you didn’t know did you? Marie passed away a few weeks ago! It was very sudden – she was diagnosed with leukemia and was given three months to live, but she only lasted two weeks.”
If you haven’t figure it out by now, I am that woman. I wept then as now, for my friend Marie was gone. Marie, who planned this entire day, wasn’t able to be there with us. Melissa told me Marie always said, “You hug everyone like it is the last time, because you never know when that time will be.”
The dinner before the show that evening as it turned out was a memorial for Marie. It was a small gathering of friends in a private room at the restaurant in Mazatzal Casino where Gallagher was appearing. During dinner Melissa announced that Kaylee had a very interesting story to tell that had happened that day. Kaylee, who isn’t bashful in the least, stood in the center of the room and announced, “About a month ago Miss Marie came to our house for dinner,” she shared. “I had made place cards for everyone. (She holds it up for us to see.) When I went to put them on the table I couldn’t find Miss Marie’s card. Then today, just before we came here, I was outside when I noticed a piece of paper on the ground. It was Miss Marie’s name card that I had made. I don’t know how it got there because I didn’t take it outside.” That Marie’s name card was at her memorial dinner felt like a strange nudge from heaven.
Seems Marie had, in a way, planned her own memorial at an event that made us all laugh. Gallagher, for those of you who are old enough to remember, is still very funny. Since our tickets were in the splash zone, we were each issued a poncho in hopes of protection from the flying food/sledge hammer bit for which Gallagher is known. While waiting for the show to begin Melissa turns to me and says, “Did you notice the name of this show? It’s ‘The Jokes on You Comedy Tour.’ Can’t you see Marie smiling right now?”
After all that happened that strange day, I want to tell you about Overman Designs, fulfilling my promise to Marie. Chad, Melissa and Kaylee are as described earlier. They are a delightful family that run an amazing family jewelry business. Chad was born into the jewelry business, in Richmond, Kentucky where his parents ran their own business. He met Melissa when he took a position at a Kay’s Jewelers in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where she worked. The couple fell in love and married a few years later.
They followed Chad’s parents to Payson, Arizona with the intent of going into real estate. Instead the young couple decided to go back to what they knew best, gems and jewelry design. They found a designer in Los Angeles and began manufacturing and selling wholesale to other jewelers plus doing direct sales through private consultations. Eventually in 2008 they decided to open their own retail store in Payson. They do custom design with their own gemstones along with the complete manufacturing by their own team. They also have a restoration office in Chicago, Illinois.
Passion for beauty and the love of life is what they strive to accomplish. “We use the best materials and procedures and passion for design in all we do,” said Melissa. Their diamonds come from a mine in Canada in which they have ownership, so they know for sure where they’re from. They are careful to avoid gems such as blood diamonds, a term given to diamonds that come from mines rife with human rights violations. They even own an X-ray machine that will tell them the exact origin of any gemstone by its makeup. They charge $330 to customers who want to know about a jewel they own.
“We are different from the current marketplace,” explained Melissa. “We really enjoy the emotional connection between people and the jewels they purchase. We see the jewelry industry changing with the times from gem quality to gem quantity.” Melissa explained that instead of cutting gems to showcase the beauty of them, modern methods are cutting them to get the largest carats to sell. In other words, size over substance.
Once Chad finally was able to catch his breath from his very busy late afternoon rush, he had a chance to add to their story. “There are things in life to celebrate – symbols that are so special. We had a couple come in one time for their 73rd wedding anniversary! We still have their picture on the wall right over there!” he says as he points across the room. The Overmans tell of one day when three separate couples were in the store at the same time because of their 50th wedding anniversaries. There was once a customer who upon learning their diamonds were from Canada, said he would like to buy one for his wife who was Canadian as he thought it would hold special meaning for her. When the piece was done, the Overmans called the customer to let him know it was ready, but instead learned the man had died. They tried numerous times to contact his wife, but she would not return their calls. They left yet another message telling her about something special her husband had purchased for her, begging her to pick it up. Finally, she did retrieve his purchase and was astounded with the extraordinary gift he had left behind for her.
Overman Designs still offer layaway to allow those who want or need time to work towards paying for their desired purchase. There is even a display case with jewelry for children that is picked out especially by Kaylee. They sell, design and manufacture quality jewelry with direct to you pricing. And, their passion for and knowledge of gemstones is worth the trip alone. They are located at 207 E. Highway 260 in Payson, Arizona, just to the west of Safeway in the same plaza. Their hours are Tuesday through Friday 11am to 5pm and Saturday 11am to 2pm; closed on Sunday and Monday. Reach them by phone at 928-468-1008, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to overmandesigns.com.
With a whole new appreciation for my own wedding ring, I can honestly say, I hope you will visit my new friends at Overman Design in Payson real soon. Don’t forget to look up when you enter the store for Magic Marie’s golden mistletoe who made this story possible.