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Video : Lowell Hays : Elvis' Jeweler Remembers The King

By Elvis Australia
Source: EPE
September 9, 2012 - 5:44:29 AM

I grew up in Memphis with Elvis, but did not meet Elvis until 1969. I was born into the jewelry business which my father had established in 1937. The night I met Elvis he was shooting at a target on the side of his dad's office. It was raining, and Elvis was wearing a full length ranch mink coat. Over the period of that year, I got to know Elvis. We went to movies, and football games together. In December 1969, he called me on Christmas Eve and wanted to do his Christmas shopping at around 10:00 or 11:00 at night. I took my briefcase to the Memphian Theatre, a movie house in Memphis where I met Elvis. He sat down, went through my jewelry briefcase and very carefully selected pieces of jewelry for friends, family, his aunt and his dad. From then on I was Elvis' jeweler. He invited me to go on the tours with him, with one requirement that I bring along a case full of jewelry. He loved to give gifts to people he met along the way. Elvis bought a small garnet cross from me. He had it with him when we were in Jackson, Mississippi at a concert, and someone told him about a little boy who was dying. It was a Make-A-Wish Foundation request, and he wanted to see Elvis. So, Elvis agreed, and we took the limo to the hospital where the little boy was staying. Elvis visited with him awhile and then gave him that very cross I had made for Elvis.

The TCB and TLC necklaces Elvis gave to friends and to his entourage were originally designed according to rumor, by him and Priscilla. Although there are many who claim to have the original molds and claim to have made necklaces for Elvis, I have original invoices, ledger cards and a signed statement by Elvis' father, Vernon Presley, to prove that my necklaces are the only authentic replicas available. Very few people got TCB necklaces. The TLC necklace was a little different. The TLC necklace was given to young ladies. Over the years, I made dozens of TCB and TLC necklaces for Elvis. Many were customized with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or emeralds.

I remember when Elvis gave me my necklace. It felt like I was being knighted. Elvis was sitting on the floor playing with his guitar and he asked me to come over to him and he said, 'It's about time you had one of these'. He put the necklace around my neck. I'll never forget that moment. When you got a TCB necklace from Elvis, it meant you were part of his group. It was absolutely amazing the power that little necklace had back in the 70s. One night in Asheville, Elvis came over, reached down in my case, got out a ring, and walked over to this girl that was standing there with a rose in her hand. He handed her the ring and the crowd just went wild. Elvis looked at me later and said, 'I'm going to have to sing five minutes longer tomorrow night to pay for that jewelry' and he laughed.

Among the more notable pieces I made for Elvis during his career include the TCB ring, Aloha ring, the Maltese Cross, and the Lion necklace. Elvis was a very giving person who had wonderful, yet expensive taste in the jewelry he added to his collection. He loved his fans, friends.and family, and he tried to give everything he could back to them I was honoured to be able to work with him.

Elvis Presley Video Lowell Hays : Elvis' Jeweler Remembers The King (03:21)

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