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Trained Shrink Grows as Jeweler

Ernie Piscitelli feels confident his Madison Jewelers llc sports the largest selection of bridal jewelery in the state, or at least is closing in on the title. It's quite the accomplishment for a jeweler who almost went down an entirely different path through life.

When Piscitelli went into college, the guidance counselor expressed a need for psychologists in the near future. The idea stuck with Piscitelli. It also resonated with a lot of other eager young students entering college and the market soon became saturated. "Four years later, I was competing with master's degrees for the same minimum wage jobs," he said.

To get the bills paid, Piscitelli worked at restaurants and nightclubs. Eventually, his brother, with 15 years in the jewelry business, offered him a job in one of his stores. In his first day on the job, Piscitelli found himself piercing ears. He worked his way through the ranks and eventually landed a position as Tom Losonci's mananger at the previous incarnation of Madison Jewelers. When Losonci died last January, Piscitelli took over the Fairfield location as the owner of Madison Jewelers llc. He has now been in the business for 26 years.

Now Piscitelli holds credentials as a certified and graduate gemologist from two different institutions and has a specialty in appraisals. In order to improve his repair skills, he turned his basement into a workshop. Piscitelli bought tools and made a bench out of a computer cart. "I'd always just worked in the shop helping the jewelers," Piscitelli said, leaning back in his chair and smiling. "Besides, I always wanted to say I started a business in my basement."

Now his store boasts an eclectic line of men's and women's jewelry items, and he can perform appraisals and repairs. The space is large, and filled with wide array of fashion lines for men and women across a spectrum of casual to very formal offerings.

And the psychology degree didn't go to waste. Piscitelli said it plays an invaluable role in helping him as a salesman. "The hardest thing for most salespeople to understand is you can't back someone into a corner and expect a positive response," he said.

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