14 Karat was started by Robert Osterholm, in 1979. At a time when gold was in great demand and prices were high, he saw an opportunity he couldn’t resist. The business acted as a wholesale agent for gold jewelry manufacturers and sold primarily to retailers and corporate clients, maintaining what was at the time a very limited public clientele. During those early days, Mr. Osterholm began to envision a company founded on high-quality jewelry at low costs. He knew that in order to achieve this he would need to be committed to low overhead and could not invest in advertising to drive his product. Word of mouth would have to be the lifeblood.