Sweeney enjoys the sparkle of Selma up close

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 30, 2004

White gold is in. Yellow gold is out. Platinum is currently popular.

Just a piece of traditional wisdom from someone in the know.

Judy Sweeney, sales associate with Butler Truax Jewelers, helps people shop for jewelry everyday. &uot;You’re here to make it a pleasurable experience when they come in,&uot; she said. &uot;Jewelry is a luxury item and not really a necessity. Of course, engagement rings are always a necessity,&uot; she smiled knowingly.

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Sweeney, who began selling jewelry in 1975 at I.J. Hix, said people’s shopping habits have changed over the years. &uot;In the past, the groom couldn’t care less what that silverware looked like,&uot; she said. &uot;Or the plates. We’ve seen a change. They now shop together.&uot;

Sweeney often sees both the bride and groom shopping for the perfect ring and other wedding necessities. One of her duties is to ensure the procedure goes smoothly. &uot;Getting engaged should not be stressful,&uot; she said.

With the spring wedding season already in full swing, Sweeney helps many couples with their plans.

But it’s not just weddings Sweeney helps people with. Birthday gifts, anniversary presents and Valentine’s Day surprises are foremost in people’s minds. &uot;Lots of gentlemen want to buy the perfect gift,&uot; she said. &uot;I’m amazed at how long it takes them to pick it out.&uot;

To assist with a purchase, Sweeney asks several questions of her customers. How much can be spent, the birthstone of the girlfriend or bride and when is her birthday are all common queries. &uot;Usually they’ve got a pretty good idea,&uot; Sweeney said. &uot;Men are more attentive now.&uot;

Sweeney, a Selma native, has lived here all her life. Both her parents, Nell and John Melton, live in town as does one of her daughters. Her other daughter lives in North Carolina.

Sweeney said she enjoys living in Selma because it was a good place to raise her children. &uot;This community rallies around people, and it’s very close-knit. You don’t even have to know anybody, and they’ll be there to help.&uot;