The Jewelry Exchange had a humble start in life. Its founder, Billy Doddridge started off working in his stepfather’s pawnshop. He then moved onto running his own pawnshop before using his experience to design jewelry.
In the 1990s, Billy closed his pawnshop and opened up a more traditional jewelry store. He was one of the first small businessmen to really harness the power of globalization. He went directly to overseas manufacturing companies, a move which allowed him to undercut competition by 30%. He was particularly love in Tel Aviv.
The company now runs under the parent company, Goldenwest Diamond Corporation and has 15 stores across the country. Some use the name Jewelry Exchange, some use the name Jewelry factory.
Our experience with the Jewelry Exchange
The store we visited looked like any other store in a your typical strip mall. Inside, on first glance, the store also looked pretty typical if somewhat dated. But look a bit closer and you’ll see certain odd aspects of the store.
The first thing you have to do inside is to take a number. Yes, like in an old school butchers or bakers. When we told the security guard we were looking for an engagement ring, he ushered us over to the appropriate section before announcing our presence on a megaphone.
When we arrived at the engagement ring section, we were immediately helped by someone knowledgeable and friendly. To be frank, the diamond selection wasn’t great. There were GIA certificate diamonds and also EGL certified diamonds, but the saleswoman didn’t make a fuss over them.
The first diamond we were showed was a 1.09 G color I1 clarity for just shy of $5000. The quality was pretty poor. Inclusions were readily visible and the symmetry was all wrong.
The next diamond we looked at was slightly better. That was a 1.15 carat F SI2 excellent cut round diamond. The inclusion was noticeable again. There was also a strong blue flourescent grade.
To put it bluntly the value is very bad. I found a comparable diamond on James Allen (which had the same imperfections) for just under $3,500. Compared to the $5000 charged by the Jewelry Store for the first diamond, that’s a saving of around 30%.
It’s the same with the second diamond. I found a better diamond on James Allen for just over $5,500. The inclusions and the fluorescent grade was better. Compared to the $7,000 charged by the Jewelry Store, that’s a saving of 25% for a better diamond.
You’ll actually save even more than these amounts by buying online as online purchases are tax free. Places like this online shop are the best.
The high prices were a problem with the Jewelry Store. But that’s to be expected when you buy in person. These stores simply can’t compete with online stores when it comes to prices.
But the poor quality product was even worse. If you’re going to pay a premium, you want to make sure your diamonds are amazing. These ones weren’t. It just doesn’t add up.