Jeweler Features Open Showcases

A Canadian jewelry store that allows customers unlimited try-ons of replicas of its pieces is coming to the United States.

Nine-store Spence Diamonds, based in Vancouver, Canada, is the stalking horse bidder for six stores from Robbins Bros. (currently in Chapter 11), three in the Chicago market and three in Houston. Its stores have a unique “glass and brass” format, with open showcases that let customers try on different rings, all of which have nonprecious metals and cubic zirconias. (See box for eye-witness report.)

“We have 3,000 designer prototypes on our showroom floor,” says company president Tim Copp. “The styles can be made in any color or metal. We certainly believe that gives customers a lot more choice and selection. It means the customer is in control of the purchasing decision, and it’s a much more customer-oriented model.”

The stores carry little actual inventory. If a customer orders a piece from Spence, it’s made for them and delivered in seven to 14 days, Copp says.

He adds: “We look forward to changing the way North America buys diamonds.”