ANTHONY JOHN MACHADO is a custom jewelry designer, perhaps the most well-connected in all of pro sports, a world where bling remains the universal hallmark of the good life, of success achieved. Equal parts artist, running buddy and salesman, Machado is the archetypal service provider for the young men in sports and entertainment who go from stone broke one moment to crazy rich the next.
Machado, whose family emigrated from Spain to Florida when he was 4, opened the store in 1992. At first, he served locals, selling mainly no-frills chains, rings and watches in the $100 range. But in 2000, a star running back for the University of Miami randomly stopped by the shop, looking to swap a chain for a ring. “I’m like, ‘What’s with this chubby, happy guy behind the counter?’ ” Clinton Portis recalls with a chuckle. Machado’s approach includes offering seasoned wings and pitchers of fresh-squeezed juice.
Portis liked the deal he got, not to mention the family atmosphere at the store, so much that he brought Machado into the U family, giving him a roster that now includes Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss, Frank Gore, Vince Wilfork, Devin Hester and Antrel Rolle. These clients are walking billboards, and Machado now has hooks into all 32 NFL teams and nearly half of the NBA’s 30 clubs. His athlete client list exceeds 350. The rear wall of his stand is called the Bling of Honor and highlights a collection of hundreds of photos documenting his sales to high-profile jocks.