Meet The Family

David Burton, the owner of Burton's Gems and Opals, standing in front of Native American turquoise squash blossom necklaces.

David Burton

Co-Owner, Certified Gemologist

David's journey in the gem and jewelry industry began at the age of 8 years old, when his father gave him a lapidary machine to keep him out of trouble. Little did either of them know at the time that this would unlock a lifelong passion.

"Nothing is more satisfying to me than discovering something in a rock and creating a work of art with what I find."

In 1956, at the age of 12, David recalls his father bringing him to a newly-opened jewelry supply and rock shop located in the shopping center that was then called Hobby City. David would select sterling silver ring mountings, taught himself to set the stones that he had been cutting, and sold his finished pieces to fellow classmates in school. After seeing his success, David's father followed suit in learning the trade, and "Burton Jewelers" was born.

Though a firm foundation had been set, David's hobby didn't become a career until the year 1988, when a certain Hobby City jewelry supply and rock shop went up for sale. It was the biggest decision that he and his wife, Bonnie, ever had to make together with their three children: to sell their house, possessions, and for David to leave his engineering job to pursue their shared dream of entrepreneurship. After working alongside the current owner for seven months, the sale closed, and together, David and Bonnie became the Hobby City store's third line of ownership.

Under David's direction, the store has successfully been led through a number of challenging economic environments. Displaced by the coming era of the internet, soon-gone were the days of the old-school hobbyist; David was forced to shift the business's focus away from selling supplies and equipment to creating his own custom jewelry. Common rocks were upgraded with rare gems and high-end mineral specimens. The existing jewelry repair program had been expanded upon. One by one, as the other hobby shops in Hobby City shuttered their doors, David survived to absorb them, adding coins, Southwest jewelry, antiques, and gold buying to his eclectic mix of offerings.

Looking to the future, David is embracing the store's online expansion with the hopes that it will provide an opportunity for future generations of customers, employees, and owners alike to take part in enjoying his life's work.

"There is one thing. Coming to work, a place built by family that even lets me bring all of my dogs, that tops the creating. That tops everything."

Anaheim jewelry store owner, Bonnie Burton, standing in front of her Beach Boulevard storefront.

Yvonne "Bonnie" Burton


It wouldn't be a real ma' and pa' business without Ma' to keep Pa' in line every now and then.

"That's right!"

Growing up, Bonnie wanted nothing more than to raise a family and be a good mom. Owning a business, while also a dream, never felt like it would be able to go hand-in-hand with her ultimate goal. It wasn't until marrying David, having children, and being presented with the opportunity to buy a Hobby City rock shop that she realized the blessing a small business can be.

"Not only did it bring all of us closer together, it gave the kids confidence in talking with people, meeting new people, taking responsibility, and I really think that it taught us to respect each other more as individuals, too."

Additionally, Bonnie admits to realizing that, despite the extra commitment, owning a small business has even helped add to her family.

"Well, after doing something for so long, you get to grow with your customers and employees. You watch people grow up, and learn, and being part of that in such a trusted role as their jeweler is something special."

While Bonnie takes pride in being able to describe her store as "a sort of mini museum," her favorite part about the business is taking a customer's broken piece of jewelry and restoring it to new.

"A lot of pieces that people bring into us to fix are priceless, generational family heirlooms. It always brings tears to my eyes when we can recondition someone's beloved piece of jewelry and make it like new again."

Matt Lervold, the business manager of Anaheim jewelry store, Burton's Gems and Opals, standing in front of their Beach Boulevard storefront.

Matt Lervold

Manager, Certified Gemologist

More info coming soon!

Jewelry designer, Carrie Burton Stanley, standing in her family's Anaheim gem and jewelry shop, Burton's Gems and Opals.

Carrie Burton Stanley

Designer, Certified Gemologist

From the very first day that her mom and dad made the decision to pursue their business dream, Carrie has devoted herself to being an integral member of the team. She fondly recalls the day that her family's life had changed.

"I was 15 at the time. We couldn't believe it! It was actually happening!"

With a creative mind and artistic eye, her early years with the business were spent studying jewelry styles, gemology, and learning techniques from the shop's legacy designers until their retirement.

"We've had some very talented people working for us over the years. I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from every one of them growing up."

In addition to the satisfaction that Carrie finds in watching a two-dimensional design sketch be brought to life, she particularly shares her mom's excitement for the sentimental aspects of jewelry.

"I love to do redesign work, like taking grandma or grandpa's old rings and combining them with something else. Or taking the stones out entirely, sketching something more modern that incorporates the stones, then using the same family gold to cast the ring. It's like something old and something new, made into one!"

While Carrie now lives full-time in Washington State with her husband to pursue dreams of their own, she explains that her parents' business will always be an important part of who she is.

"This store, and the people in it, have always been here for me. The chance to express my love and creativity like this is something that just can't be replaced."

She still finds time to visit the shop, help out Mom and Dad, sketch some designs, and catch up with the customers who have long been considered her friends.

George Goodman, Certified Gemologist, standing in front of Native American squash blossom necklaces at Burton's Gems and Opals.

George Goodman

Certified Gemologist

Frequent customers of the shop for over 25 years, George and his wife, Holly, have become good friends of the Burton's Gems and Opals team.

"I'm just an old retired guy who likes to come in to enable his wife's jewelry habit!"

George enlisted to serve in the United States Marine Corps and did so from 1966 to 1971, where he then went into the banking and finance industry until retirement. With time on his hands, George made the decision to go back to school to pursue his interest in gemology.

"I guess it really is true, that an old dog can learn new tricks! It's never too late to go back to school."

In the year 2021, George suffered from a stroke that had made moving and speaking difficult. Unwilling to give up, he confronted the recovery process head-on by using the real world as his therapy.

"As soon as I could move around again safely, I knew that I needed to be doing something productive to keep my mind sharp, even if my voice or the word finding hadn't fully come back yet."

Finding himself spending more and more time at the shop, George frequently lends his expertise in gemology, never backs down from an opportunity to research something new, and even volunteers to manage the social media presence.

"Keep active, stay productive, don't stop learning, and never give up."

Sam Yah, master jeweler, standing in front of a jeweler's workbench.

Sam Yah

Master Jeweler

More info coming soon!