First, please allow me to introduce
myself--my name is Jim Hurd, a Graduate Gemologist since 1986, who has been in
the gemstone and jewelry business, originally as a hobby, since 1980.
1985, I gave up my previous fifteen-year career as an engineer, and opened
The Gem Shop, since renamed Valley Jewelers, on the premise that,
given a choice, most people would go a little out of their way to patronize a
store which has superior quality merchandise at a lower price and/or a better
value for the same price (not to mention the unique custom-made items available
only at Valley Jewelers).
In 1987, I met, then married a
wonderful Brazilian lady (now a U.S. citizen) who was working at a gem show in
Tucson, Arizona. Since that time, Teresa, who joined me in operating the store,
has become an accomplished stonesetter and jewelry designer.
mouth" has been our most successful mode of advertisement until now, and brings
in about 90% of our new customers. Mix that with our walk-in traffic, and you
have a successful, but struggling small business. We need to let more people know
that Valley Jewelers has better values, and the internet appears to be
the modern way to do it.
One question very frequently asked of us is:
"HOW CAN YOU SELL SUPERIOR QUALITY GOLD JEWELRY AT LOWER PRICES THAN THE
LARGE CHAIN STORES WITH THEIR VOLUME BUYING POWER?"
The answer has almost as many facets as a
diamond, the most important of which are:
1. WE MAKE IT OURSELVES! We either manufacture the
gold mounting ourselves, or we purchase the blank (empty) mounting directly from
the factories at distributor prices and set the stones--eliminating the middlemen.
We personally fabricate, or complete the fabrication of, more than 90% of the
finished new gold gemstone jewelry items offered for sale by Valley Jewelers
the years, we have purchased thousands of rough gemstones from miners or their
agents. We send them to well trained gem cutters in China, Sri-Lanka and Thailand, then
reimport the cut stones--this eliminates several middlemen. We have recently established a connection with
a Thailand cutting house that is providing us with their own unusual specialty cut gemstones for dangle earrings.
3. We purchase estate jewelry items, refurbish them to near new condition (if possible--we will always disclose any defects
present), then sell them at a discount below new retail.
4. We do not try to compete where we cannot be competitive. For example the discount "clubs" (among
others) purchase heavy gold chains in such a large volume that they can sell items with a markup
so low that it is not profitable for us to stock them. Wherever we are able,
however, we will be happy to special order these items for you at or below the
"club" prices (most items are available for next business day delivery). Our edge is service.
For example: Purchase one of our gold rings and need it sized?...The
initial sizing for a gold ring (up or down) is free-even if you bring it back much later. We also offer free cleaning and polishing for any gold
item (and most silver items) we sell--for as long as we are in business.
5. In order to minimize overhead, and thereby keep prices within reason, we personally operate the store
and do most repairs ourselves, in-house.
We only send out inlay repairs and some melee (very small) stone setting jobs that we have no tooling for.
Several years ago we invested in a laser welder, which allows us to do micro repair work on chains, repair jewelry without
removing gemstones, and gives us the ability to
weld platinum (many shops repair platinum pieces with white gold solder, due to the very high temperatures involved).
Re-stringing of beads and pearls is one of Teresa's specialties--always done in-house.
Unfortunately, we do not have the expensive machines (or space) needed to do engraving.
We do know engravers in the area, and can refer you to one of them, if needed.
6. Finally, and perhaps the primary reason
that we are able to sell quality gold jewelry at lower prices, Valley
Jewelers was opened, not as an investment to become rich, but as a means to
earn a living while engaged in work that we truly enjoy. We seem to be
succeeding in doing that, and, with the many customers who have also become our
friends, who can say that we aren't also richly rewarded?
If you have
read this far, thanks for your interest...