WORDS JOE LEARY X PHOTOGRAPHY LIA CROWE
In a city where the Bosa name is so richly ingrained, one might expect a steady stream of Bosas dutifully following in the family footsteps, whether in food, property management or real estate development — all of which are thriving entities under the Bosa moniker.
Jason Bosa chose a different path. It was a departure from the family business, to be sure — and it was only ever intended to be a brief foray.
Enter Palladio Jewellers.
In 1996, Jason’s mother purchased an existing jewelry store called Swedish Jewellers.
“In 1997, she got involved daily with it because the partnership she had wasn’t working, so she asked me to assist her with running the business,” says Jason. “She had not been a hands-on business owner before and wanted somebody she could trust. I got involved at that point — but it was only going to be a three-month gig.”
Coincidentally, a number of Jason’s friends were starting to get engaged at that time, and turned to him out of trust.
“Even though I didn’t know much about jewelry, I was obviously now connected and started getting involved in designing engagement rings —very personalized, one-of-a-kind pieces for my friends’ girlfriends. That’s really how I got my feet wet in the jewelry business and I’ve been in it ever since.”
Swedish Jewellers rebranded in 1998. Moving from shopping malls to street-level retail provided the impetus to ensure the brand reflected the people behind it.
“We wanted it to represent us,” Jason explains. “We’re not Swedish, we’re Italian — so we took an Italian name.”
Andrea Palladio, the brand’s namesake, was an Italian Renaissance architect who designed legendary villas. His style can be seen in structures like the White House and the US Capitol Building.
“He is probably the most influential and most-copied architect in history. The point of his architecture is simple — it’s useful, timeless and classic, and never goes out of style.”
That mantra clearly resonated with the Bosas when it came time to rebrand. On top of that, it further connected Palladio Jewellers with the home-building side of the family business.
“It tied in very nicely. Plus, Andrea Palladio was from the same area of Italy as my family.”
While Jason’s initial introduction to Palladio Jewellers was intended to be temporary, it eventually became his calling, even though he had already spent years involved with other facets of the family business.
“The jewellery idea was on-and-off for a while because from the time I was young I spent my summer vacations on our job sites. In high school I worked in the offices and did property management, and later I did land development. Then the mid-’90s came along, our government changed and everything ground to a halt.”
In the back of his mind, Jason was always thinking that when the economy improved, he would jump back into land development.
“It probably took me a good five to 10 years before I figured out that I didn’t want to go back. I now know jewellery much better than I know land development, and that business has changed so much that going back into it would be like learning to tie my shoes again.”
Today, Jason presides over the richly-appointed downtown Vancouver location of Palladio Jewellers at 900 West Hastings. It offers refined luxury and limited-edition timepiece brands to the discerning consumer.
In addition to his clerical duties as president, the father of two continues to showcase his artistry on the creative side.
“I design jewellery all the time: rings, pendants and earrings,” he says. “As long as I learn enough about the people and their backstory to know what they’re trying to achieve, I’m very good at pulling out of their heads exactly what they have in mind and transforming it into a piece of jewelry.”
Now, with nearly a quarter-century of Palladio Jewellers under his belt, what pearls of wisdom would 2020’s Jason Bosa impart on his younger self?
“I don’t think I would give 1996 Jason any advice other than ‘follow your heart,’” he says. “I only know what I know now because I went through what I did. If I didn’t go through the ups and downs, the trial and error and the mistakes, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today.
“For me to give my younger self advice would kind of put me at a disadvantage where I wouldn’t have that trial and error. Relish the mistakes, learn from them, grow from it all and become stronger for it — that’s the way I live my life.”