Sam’s Club sells high-priced jewelry

Sam’s Club, the warehouse store division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is selling high-priced jewelry, The Associated Press reports.

Featured on the page inside the cover of its 2003 holiday gift guide are two one-of-a-kind items: a $300,000 necklace with 75 ideal cut diamonds and a $260,000 ring that features a 3.85 ct. radiant-cut pink diamond.

Shipping is included. Dee Breazeale, a Sam’s Club vice president and jewelry merchandise manager, told the AP the items arrive via armored car.

Breazeale and Sam’s jewelry buyer Gary Coleman told the AP the company has adopted the same tack with its jewelry as with the other items on the shelves lower prices brought by shaving markups that other retailers need to survive.

For instance, the company says the replacement cost for the necklace would be $575,950 and $450,000 for the ring.

Richard Scudder, president of Mary Healey’s Fine Jewelry, an upscale store in Little Rock, told the AP Sam’s Clubs indeed have a piece of the market but aren’t a threat to family jewelry stores.

“They’re a great company and have great products, but we’re a jewelry store,” Scudder reportedly said. “You can’t get your Folgers coffee here.”

For the discounts, customers sacrifice a jewelry store’s ambiance. Sam’s tends to keep its jewelry in a case near the front of the store, amid people maneuvering carts loaded down with bulk items and the din of beeping forklifts.

Coleman said customers can still tell the quality of the jewelry.

“There’s not special light to enhance (the jewelry) like a lot of jewelry stores will have,” he reportedly said, adding that customers can touch a piece and test its feel.

The pieces hadn’t sold as of Friday, Oct. 31, but shoppers can use their Sam’s charge accounts to pay, if approved. The store will accept other credit, too.

The one-of-a-kind items are reportedly listed in the catalog as being available only online.