Good Life Magazine
Sean Jones, CEO and Owner of Spence Diamonds; a rare jewel!
What’s better than being a kid in a candy store? Being an adult in a Spence Diamond store (with a credit card, for sure)!
You’ve likely seen the new “pod” location of Spence Diamonds located in the parking lot area at Square One. It’s even larger and more dazzling than Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry box, with 6,000 square feet of retail space boasting over 15,000 pieces of jewelry. And what’s unique about this jewelry store –all of the rings, bracelets, pendants and earring sets are displayed in open cases! What –no glasses cases? No hovering sales people? I know what you are thinking – do a lot of rings just walk out the door?
Sean Jones, Owner and CEO of Spence Diamonds explains: “The majority of our pieces are prototypes so our customers can try on as many pieces as they want. We don’t make anything unless the customer has ordered it. We have a massive selection of styles, so customers select the style, then chose between white or yellow gold or platinum and then select from our inventory of top quality diamonds. Their diamond is then sent to our studio in Vancouver where artisans custom make the jewelry. When our customer tries on that ring, no one else has tried it on except them.”
Not only are the Spence Diamonds commercials distinctive (voiced by Sean), their corporate makeup is one of a kind in the industry. Sean says they have eliminated ‘the middle man’ by buying direct, they locate only in power centers and pod locations to help save on rent, and they maintain minimal inventory. Spence has a team of buyers living in Antwerp, Belgium where they purchase top quality, non conflict diamonds on a daily basis. Three more buyers travel the world in search of top quality diamonds from Russia, India and Asia and Canada. “Eighteen percent of the diamonds we purchase come from Canadian mines in the Northwest Territories,” says Sean. “I’d like to be the only jeweler selling 100% Canadian diamonds but the mines cannot produce enough at the price we need.”
“Birk’s or Tiffany’s have millions of dollars in inventory and there are interest charges on that,” explains Sean. “I don’t need ten one carat diamonds. I don’t have any seven carat diamonds in store; it would be expensive to carry a diamond of that size and it would be reflected in the price. If someone comes in looking for a rare or large diamond, we would search the world and find that diamond, bring it in and then they could decide if they wanted it.”
Recently, a seven carat diamond ring was purchased at the Square One store, worth approximately a quarter of a million dollars. “We have lots of four or five carat diamond sales valued at between $150,000 to a quarter million, but the average purchase is about $1,500, with the average engagement ring purchase running from $3,500 to $4,000.”
Fifty percent of the customers are men who come in looking for a gift to surprise their loved one; the other fifty percent are couples shopping for that perfect diamond.
Part of the “hands on” approach includes a 15 minute diamond education seminar where customers gaze through microscopes and learn what makes a diamond sparkle. “We are the inclusive jewelry store,” says Sean. “We want our customers to feel comfortable buying a diamond. The scariest thing for a guy is to plunk down a chunk of money and then they find out that the diamond they purchased maybe isn’t as brilliant as their Mom’s. You can have two diamonds which look identical but one is $3,000 and the other is $15,000. What’s the difference? In 15 minutes our staff will show customers how proportion affects the beauty of a diamond. No matter if they’ve spent $2,000 or $100,000 they will get a diamond they are proud of.” What happens if the person doesn’t like the custom piece once they receive it? “We have a 45 day guarantee. The person can return the ring and we will melt down the metal and return the diamond to our inventory. All we are out is the labour,” explains Sean.
While diamond bracelets have fallen out of favour, the new “it” item is a diamond solitaire pendant. “These are the items every woman should have in their jewelry wardrobe; a diamond solitaire pendant which can be worn dressy or casually, a pair of diamond stud earrings and a celebration ring. A look that’s hot right now is to wear three or four (and up to 10) celebration rings together. Start with one and build up from there, wearing them together – some thick and some thin- it creates a different look all the time.”
Sean worked for company founder Doug Spence for over 20 years before buying the company three years ago. He used to travel 50 weeks of the year, but now lives in Vancouver with his wife and two young children.
Diamonds are a hot commodity worth cold hard cash. “They are the most concentrated form of wealth,” says Sean. “When is the best time to buy a diamond? Yesterday!”
For more information on Spence Diamonds, go to www.spencediamonds.com or visit one of the four locations throughout the GTA including the new Square One location.
Meal: “Steak- Alberta beef. I’m originally from Edmonton.”
Hobby: “I love cars. I don’t hold on to them long – only until I see another one I like. I also surf and enjoy wakeboarding at our cottage outside of Edmonton.”
Movie: “The Godfather”
Book: “The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green.”
Piece of Jewelry: “I like the simple solitaire in platinum. The focus is on the centre diamond.”
Mentor; “Doug Spence”
Saying; “Anything can be done.”