Darlene and Cliff Miller, owners of MJ Christensen Diamonds, are proud to continue 77 years of honesty, integrity, craftsmanship, customer service and relationship building. The business itself was opened in 1939 and the Millers continue to respect its past while creating a future in 2017 and beyond.
Both take pride in being certified gemological appraisers by American Gem Society. “We are just not a company that sells jewelry product but owners that understand diamonds and gemstones intimately,” Cliff explained. “We are continuously reinventing ourselves. There are some incredible new designers in the marketplace. In addition, many of today’s customers want pieces that are something custom made rather than stock inventory.”
Darlene oversees the back office including sales, payroll and merchandising. Cliff spends more time in the store. They both are diamond buyers and Cliff especially enjoys buying for special orders.
The Millers both began their careers in Augusta, Georgia for A.A. Friedman Jewelers, which had been established in 1929. In 1996, Mrs. Friedman passed away, the company was sold, and they looked for a new home.
The Millers moved to Louisville, Kentucky and worked for a jewelry business creating and developing retail outlets. When they first started, there were no stores but built up the number to 42 outlets in two years. However, due to a disagreement with management, they started to look for other opportunities.
MJ Christensen was on the market while being operated by the son and grandsons of the founder, Marcus Joy Christensen, known as “M.J.” The Millers first bought company management control in 2000 and became the sole owners in 2007. Cliff’s son Rusty is head of the computer-aided design and manufacturing division. Their daughter is attending college but helps with the business in social media.
As an American Gem Society member, they adhere to the AGS Code of Ethics, which includes their commitment to not sell conflict diamonds. MJ Christensen makes every effort to fully comply with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the World Diamond Council System of Warranties. They are also part of Diamonds For Good helping to donate 8.5 billion dollars in trade to Africa, provide access to healthcare for workers, educate children and improve working conditions for over 10 million people.
The Millers want to educate the public that diamonds do good and the diamond industry is supportive. “We are working toward a world when you see someone wearing diamonds, you will thank them for making the world a better place,” said Cliff.
Both are very active in the community. They recently became involved in the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation. Darlene is a member of United Way of Southern Nevada’s Women’s Leadership Council. The couple is also members of United Way’s Tocqueville Society, philanthropists who demonstrate extraordinary generosity to the community by investing $10,000 or more annually.
Most recently, MJ Christensen has supported the Diamond Development Initiative and the Diamond Empowerment Fund. These two international nonprofits have the aim of improving the lives of people from diamond producing nations, assisting with education and improving the quality of life. They also support Bead for Life, which creates bridges between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Other philanthropic affiliations include Opportunity Village, Best Buddies and Dress For Success.
As a member of the chamber of commerce for over 65 years, MJ Christensen recently received the inaugural Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce legacy award. The business has also been a member of the Better Business Bureau for 62 years and was recently recognized for their involvement.
While operating the successful Boca Park location, the Millers are waiting to see the financial climate in 2017 before expanding.
MJ Christensen not only shines as a treasured jewel in Las Vegas history with an unparalleled selection of exclusive designer brands, fine jewelry and responsibly sourced diamonds, but the Millers also demonstrate a genuine love for our communities.