Every year for 22 years, the magazine has surveyed readers, mainly local residents, for its best and worst picks across a variety of categories, including restaurants and boutiques.
Readers picked Vera’s Fine Jewelers this year for its diamond engagement ring selection and service. Upon hearing the news, owners Vera and Mike Caniglia issued this statement: "The staff at Vera’s truly embodies the meaning of team spirit and customer service. Each time you visit we strive to give the best in fine jewelry and the best shopping experience. All of our designers’ and jewelers’ hard work comes to life every day to give our customers the unique piece of jewelry that they’ve dreamed about."
At press time, Mike Caniglia gave JCK some backstory on the store’s success. Mike and Vera have a combined 45 years of service in industry, he having worked as a master jeweler, watchmaker, bench jeweler, buyer, store manager, and salesman, while Vera’s background is in sales and appraisals. [This is how the couple met-he was selling diamonds to a store where she was appraising merchandise. Jokes Mike: "I needed a favorable grade on a diamond so I asked her to marry me."]
The pair opened Vera’s Fine Jewelers in 1995-massively renovating an old gas station and waste management site into the 2,700 sq. ft. luxury showroom it is today. In the bridal category, the store carries bands from Novell Design Studio, Coast Diamond, and more.
This award is one of many garnered by the store from Richmond Magazine‘s Best and Worst issues. In 2004, the store was nominated in the Best Place to Buy Handcrafted Gifts category. In 2005, the store won the Best Place to Buy Handcrafted Gifts award. In 2006, Vera’s was again nominated for the same Handcrafted award. Then in 2008, it took home the recognition for Best Fine Jewelry Selection and was nominated in Best Custom Design. This year, Vera’s secured the top prize in Best Place to Buy Unique Engagement Rings and was also nominated in the Unique Necklaces division.
"[Vera’s Fine Jewelers] feels very honored to have been recognized so many times," says Caniglia.
About 800 ballots were collected by Richmond Magazine this year for awards in more than 100 different categories. The lifestyle publication has a monthly readership of 43,000, and issues certificates of recognition to award winners, as well as hosting a fete with a charitable tie-in for all winners.