Avery Leadership Team
James Avery - Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors
Fifty-three years after he first founded the company, James Avery officially stepped down as CEO in May 2007 and passed the reigns to his son Chris. He is still involved with the company and many days you can find him pursuing what he loves -- creating new design ideas out of his office at the corporate headquarters in Kerrville.
Born in Milwaukee, and raised in Chicago, Avery served as a B-26 pilot in World War II flying 44 missions over Germany. After serving in the war, Avery attended the University of Illinois and received a bachelor’s degree in industrial design. However, while teaching design courses at the University of Colorado in 1951, he discovered the art of jewelry making which ignited the spark that began his now successful business.
In 1954, Avery spent the summer in Kerrville, Texas and started his jewelry business in a two-car garage with $250 in his pocket. He built a small workbench, bought a few hand tools and scraps of silver and copper and set up shop to create jewelry that had meaning as well as lasting value for his customers.
Selling individual pieces for about $5 each, Avery worked alone for three years keeping designs simple, but filled with integrity of structure and workmanship. Customers learned of Avery through word of mouth and were greeted with cordial gratitude as they entered his workshop. This quality of workmanship and personal attention built lasting customer bonds that continue within the company today.
Jim is married to Estela and has five children and 2 step-children. In his spare time, Jim enjoys working on their ranch, entertaining family and friends, sharing his blessings and success through philanthropy, and listening to good jazz music.