Brass-and-Glass Retailer Spence Diamonds Purchased by Private Equity Funds

Two private equity funds have purchased Canadian brass-and-glass retailer Spence Diamonds for a reported $125 million, with plans to expand the chain in Canada and possibly the United States.

Lion Capital will become the majority owner, though Vancouver-based IVEST Consumer Partners, will take a minority stake. Two IVEST partners—George Jones, former CEO of Borders and Saks Department Store Group, and Jim Schneider, former managing director of USA retail at Waterford Wedgwood—will now head the company, as executive chairman and president, respectively. Current CEO Sean Jones (no relation to George Jones), longtime face and voice of the brand, will join the company’s board and retain a minority investment.  

Spence is known for its brass-and-glass format, in which consumers design their own rings from prototypes with cubic zirconia stones.

Fortune reported the purchase price as $125 million and said the company hopes to expand in 20 stores in Canada and possibly the United States. However, its sources called the U.S. market “saturated.”

In 2009, it announced plans to enter the United States by buying stores that formerly belonged to Robbins Brothers in Chicago and Houston, following Robbins Brothers’ Chapter 11 filing. It ended up just taking over the Houston stores and exited the market two years later, when Robbins Brothers reacquired two of the stores.

Spence was founded in 1978.

JCK News Director