Ahee Jewelers, one of the oldest retailers in the Detroit metropolitan area, recently became the first jeweler to ever receive a nod from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. The award comes at a monumental time: The 16-member, three generation family-run institution in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods is also celebrating its 65th anniversary this year.
The Academy—an organization founded by singer Frank Sinatra that’s better known for its restaurant and hotel reviews than assessments of stones and metal—bestowed its aptly named Five Star Diamond Award on Ahee for “outstanding quality and customer service.” Not only is Ahee the first jeweler to receive the endorsement—joining New York City’s Trump Towers, the Plaza Hotel, and others—but it’s also the first business in Michigan. For the Ahee family, the award is acknowledgement of the jeweler’s founding philosophy, one that’s more relevant today than ever.
A few of the Ahees after receiving the Five Star Diamond Award
“One of the things that we learned from our father long ago is to give the customer more than what they expect,” says president Peter Ahee, son of founder Edmund T. Ahee. Edmund started the business in a bowling alley in 1947; he died in 1999, leaving his wife, Bettejean, as the matriarch of the business and family.
Ahee’s reputation for quality and customer service helped grow the business from a local outpost to one that reaches customers in 50 states and beyond. Pope John Paul II, for instance, called on Ahee to create vestment jewelry on one of his visits to the United States.
To mark its 65th birthday, Ahee has unveiled a new collection, a number of exclusives, and an in-store exhibition. The $250,000 Rock of Ages ensemble—which includes a bracelet, necklace, and earrings—is made with 65 carats of diamonds. “They are very high-end stones and colorless,” says marketing director Anthony Ahee, Peter’s son. “They are very vibrant pieces, hand-designed and made of the finest materials,” he adds, citing the business’ partnership with diamond supplier Pluczenik Diamond Co. and a jointly owned diamond facility in Antwerp, Belgium.
Earrings from the Rock of Ages ensemble
Exclusives from jewelry designer friends include Roberto Coin’s one-of-a-kind Cobra necklace in 18k white gold with black, cognac, and white diamonds, a natural green garnet, and a red ruby, plus and Ivanka Trump’s one-of-a-kind multi-strand emerald tassel necklace with diamonds plus matching stud earrings.
Cobra necklace in 18k white gold with black, cognac, and white diamonds, green garnet, and ruby; designed by Roberto Coin exclusively for Ahee’s 65th anniversary
A model wears the Ivanka Trump Tao Long Collection multi-strand emerald tassel necklace with diamonds and matching stud earrings.
A collection that once belonged to Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of John Francis Dodge who cofounded Dodge car company, will be on view at the store and in the holiday catalogue. (Edmund Ahee acquired a sizable portion of Wilson’s estate jewelry when she passed away in 1967.) Among the pieces: a signed Cartier engagement ring and a cat’s eye necklace. While those items aren’t for sale, the pieces are special and unique and show customers Ahee’s appreciation for fine jewelry.
Retail Details welcomes Kristin Young, who’s filling in while Emili Vesilind is on maternity leave.