Photo courtesy MJ Christensen Diamonds
Written by Yelena Brezhneva & Todd Margoluis
Las Vegas is home to many incredible, talented, and unique people. Over the last year, the residents of this brilliant city have truly come together as a community and supported not only strangers but each other in a most compassionate way. I recently had the honor of meeting and sitting down with a local couple who not only run a successful business but whose hearts and philanthropic efforts match the enormity and splendor that is Las Vegas.
Meet Cliff and Darlene Miller― owners of MJ Christensen Diamonds.
MJ Christensen Diamonds has been a known and trusted brand in Las Vegas since 1939. And from the moment Cliff and Darlene took over the business in 2000, they have continued to maintain the same core values and commitment to their guests and the community. “We take our responsibility as your Las Vegas jeweler very seriously, and as a local family-owned business in the Las Vegas valley, we believe strongly in our responsibility to serve the community at large,” comments Cliff Miller.
From the moment you enter their beautiful store in Boca Park, you are met with a comfortable grandeur and a smiling face. The ambience is warm and inviting…as though you are entering a friend’s living room complete with beautiful chairs and a magnificent glass table featuring a stunning floral arrangement.
I asked Cliff about the reasoning behind this unique setting. “We believe in relationships first. We want to get to know our guests to better understand how we can serve them. I have never been a fan of the ‘sales pitch’. Simply put― we don’t sell…we serve.”
I learned quickly that this is not just a job for Cliff and Darlene…this is their passion. And it shows in how they treat all their guests― whether they are dignitaries, a nervous groom-to-be or teenager looking for that perfect gift.
Next came the fun part…checking out all the jewelry! When Darlene says that MJ truly has something for everyone, she really means it. Upon walking around the store, I discovered an amazing array of fine diamond jewelry from designers such as Hearts On Fire, Michael M, Roman and Jules, Ritani, Noam Carver, Tycoon, Bright Crystal Diamonds and much more. On the other end of the spectrum, I found wonderfully affordable, fun, and creative collections from Uno de 50, Slate & Tell, Amen, Dog Fever, laBELL, Belle Etoile and more. Additionally, I found a wonderful selection of watches― both new and pre-owned.
Darlene Miller wearing 18kt white gold 8.08ctw round brilliant cut graduated diamond 17” necklace valued at $23,990.00
Selcen Kavruklar wearing 14kt white gold 9.81ctw round brilliant cut diamond leaf collar necklace valued at $43,875.00
Besides all the pretty jewelry, MJ provides services that cover everything from repairing and cleaning jewelry, resizing, replacing watch batteries and appraisals. MJ also offers an exclusive warranty program provided by Preferred Jewelers International even if you bought your jewelry elsewhere.
In keeping with generations of family history in the jewelry business, Cliff’s son Rusty always had a fascination with jewelry which led him to become a distinguished designer. With that, MJ offers guests the opportunity to bring in their aged jewelry and turn it into a personalized one-of-a-kind art-piece.
As a woman who loves the mystique of diamonds, I just had to ask Cliff about all things diamonds.
“Diamonds are the only thing we have in this lifetime that can be passed down to future generations that will stay the same as the day they were purchased. If a select diamond is properly identified and secured then probably in the next 10 years it can go up
100%-150% in value, due to scarcity of those diamonds,” explained Cliff.
“The internet has created a challenge when shopping for diamonds as many only see a price. A lot of people don’t realize that carat is a weight and not a size. You could have a carat that’s 5.5mm in diameter or it could be where it should be 6.5mm and properly spread out. All these factors and many others make a huge difference in price.”
“You have to know what you’re doing and what to look for when buying diamonds because the subtleties in diamonds are like no other item on the planet. For diamonds more than 6ct, slight color change, slight inconsistency and mistakes in polishing can kill the value. Two human hairs difference in size can create a possible $110,000 difference.”
Professionalism and enthusiasm were penetrating every word that Cliff spoke. And Cliff knows his diamonds.
Cliff and Darlene have achieved the level of Graduate Gemologist with GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Cliff is a member of the GIA League of Honor which is an award program that recognizes forward thinking leaders in the industry. Cliff and Darlene’s names are also on the walls of the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad and there’s even a classroom named after MJ Christensen Diamonds.
Cliff and Darlene are also a Certified Gemologist Appraisers with the American Gem Society and Cliff is a member of the Circle of Distinction with AGS. Within the industry, he resides on the Retail Board of the Centurion Jewelry Show.
Since arriving in Las Vegas, Cliff and Darlene have enjoyed supporting a multitude of charities including Southern Highland’s Charitable Foundation of which they are Founders of the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Highlands, Best Buddies of Nevada, Dress for Success, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and many others. They are also prior Sunrise Children’s Foundation honorees. Cliff serves on the Foundation Board of Opportunity Village and is a member of the board of Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation.
Darlene is on the Advisory Board of Best Buddies, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Las Vegas Gala Committee and is a member of WLC (Women’s Leadership Council of United Way Southern Nevada. She was recognized in 2010 by the Cultural Diversity Foundation as a Golden Hand Service Award Recipient for outstanding service in the community and was recognized by Silver State Awards with the Humanitarian Award in 2016.
“We wouldn’t imagine living anywhere else but Las Vegas,” said Darlene. “Our community has gone through so many challenges and supporting
non-profits has always been a priority to us.” Her husband Cliff nodded with a smile confirming his lovely wife’s words. Darlene’s passion for helping others truly shines as bright as diamonds.
When I say it was my honor to meet Cliff and Darlene…it truly was. They are a rarity in today’s world as they lead by example in following their core mission and ethics in both their personal and professional lives.
Before I left, I asked Cliff one more nugget about how women choose diamonds.
“When women see certain diamonds there’s an instant connection. Stones choose the owner. You could look at 20 diamonds, but one will look at you with puppy eyes and will ask you to take it home.”
MJ Christensen Diamonds
Located in Boca Park
8980 W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89117