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fine jewellery

Retail Spotlight: Calgary Jewellery

By SHAUNA MCGINN

A Calgary-owned business spanning three generations, Calgary Jewellery has been a staple in the city’s retail scene since 1955. Started by Les and Dora Florence, today the store is run by their son Bernard Florence and their grandson Jonathan, along with a team of dedicated staff. Jonathan spoke to Where Calgary about how the family business has continued to thrive.

Photo courtesy Jonathan Florence.

Calgary Jewellery is going on 64 years in business. What has kept it relevant all these years?
It’s truly because of the customer service we provide. We pride ourselves on the things that are unique, exclusive, but also, when it comes to anyone’s budget, we focus on providing the exact same experience whether you’re looking to spend $100 or $100,000. Also, the members of our staff have been with us anywhere from 10 years all the way up to 30 years. So when clients come in, they see a familiar face and they can feel comfortable with someone they know.

What was your grandfather’s initial business philosophy, and what does that look like for the store today?
It was integrity, it was customer relationships, and it was providing the same experience for everyone. One of the most important things now is having a unique selection of product. People want something that’s unique to them, and if they have their own taste and style, we’re able to cater to that.

What would you tell someone who is looking for a really special piece — like an engagement ring, for example — but has no idea where to start?
The most important thing is that if they were going to come into the store with zero knowledge, it’s our job to educate our clients. Using an engagement ring as an example, we would sit the client down and make them feel comfortable — for us the sale isn’t the end goal, it’s the relationship we’re building. We would go over a little bit about Diamonds 101, and we would ask questions like: ‘What makes you happy?’ or, ‘What makes you smile?’ At the end of the day, jewellery is an emotional purchase. If a client has no idea about jewellery, the most important thing is that the jeweller asks the right questions and learns about the client first.

How have you seen the retail market in Calgary change over the years?
Social media has become a wonderful tool, and we look at it as an opportunity to connect with clients that we may not have had before. We are one of the first truly independent jewellers that started in Calgary, and we have such a great history… Calgary Jewellery — it’s an easy name to know and to find.

The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect holiday. Some like to cook up a storm, others head for the hills. And then there are those for whom holidays mean dressing up and hitting every fabulous party. No matter how you like to wile away the time, our holiday gift guide has you covered.

Party Time

Diamond Earrings at Howard Fine Jewellers, 220 Sparks St.

Sparkle like a red-carpet star with these stunning dangle earrings, which feature round and yellow enhanced diamonds. $19,500.

Dirty Jokes at Stomping Ground, 728 Bank St.

Take your cocktail party banter to a new level with this collection of adult jokes. $11

Ace Face Shoes at John Fluevog Shoes, 61 William St.

These fancy lace-up derbys by the celebrated Canadian designer will ensure that you step out in style. $349.

Appliqué Minaudière Purse at Nordstrom50 Rideau St.

Add texture and shine to an evening outfit with this pint-sized purse. $169.

Silk Ties at E.R. Fisher199 Richmond Rd.

Dion neckwear has been making high-quality silk ties ($95-$135) and pocket rounds ($65) out of Toronto for 40 years.

Cook

Cheese Board at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Show your national pride with this made-in-Canada bamboo cheese board. $106.

Reusable Bags at terra201304 Wellington St. W.

Be a wise owl and use these cute reusable bags, which come in a package of two. $15.

Japanese Blade at Knifewear, 800 Bank St.

The Mugen Santoku is a multi-purpose knife perfect for slicing, dicing, and mincing vegetables. $500.

Wood Finish at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

Enhance and protect your wooden utensils and cutting boards with this all-natural beeswax product. $8.

Food Storage at The Chef’s Paradise1314 Bank St.

This alternative to plastic wrap uses the heat of your hand to create a seal. $30.

Play

Mountaineering Board Game by Family Pastimes

Watch for avalanches, overcome frostbite, and grapple with other challenges in this cooperative, locally-made board game. $21.

Poop Coaster at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

This coaster protects furniture — and lets guests know you’re not that uptight. $22. 

Good Gorilla at The Modern Shop, 541 Sussex Dr.

Hanno the gorilla can hold poses and hook onto furniture, bringing a touch of fun to any space. $150.

Snoopy Backpack at Simons, 50 Rideau St.

This Peanuts backpack by Vans features a padded back and adjustable strap. $45.

Phone Case at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Is it mixed tape or mix tape? Regardless, transform your iPhone into an icon with this throwback case. $36.

Cozy Up

Earmuffs at the Hudson’s Bay Company50 Rideau St.

These faux fur earmuffs from the Canadian Olympic Team Collection feature a cozy knit headband. Also available in red. $30.

Box of Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut314 Richmond Rd.

This collection features handcrafted chocolates, five of which are award winners. $24.

Grand Teapot at Le Creuset517 Sussex Dr.

This teapot has a capacity of four cups — so your reading (or Netflix-binging) time won’t be interrupted by the need to put the kettle on. $60.

Canadian Club 40 YO at the LCBO, various locations

Toast Canada’s 150th with limited-edition Canadian Club Whisky that has been aged for 40 years. $250. 

Wool Blanket at The Opinicon1697 Chaffeys Lock Rd.

Handmade in Canada, this 100 per cent virgin wool blanket is the same one that graces the beds at the historical Opinicon Resort. $195.

Explore

Weatherproof Pad at Lee Valley, 900 Morisson Dr.

The Rite in the Rain notebook will not absorb water, nor will it curl or wrinkle. $9.50.

Craft Beer at the LCBO, various locations

Get adventurous with your tastebuds with beer from Ontario’s Collective Arts and Flying Monkeys. About $3.

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket at Bushtukah, 203 Richmond Rd.

This lightweight down winter jacket is ideal for when the temperatures drop and weight is a concern. $350.

Eton Grundig Executive Satellite Radio at MEC, 366 Richmond Rd.

This device receives AM, FM, long and shortwave, VHF, marine, and HAM signals. $200.

The Bripe at Equator Coffee Roasters, 412 Churchill Ave. N.

You don’t want to lug a coffee pot to the great outdoors but need a caffeine fix. This copper apparatus and its kit allows the user to brew up an espresso in just a few minutes. $99.

Hot shopping: Winter Bling at Halifax’s Jewellery Shops

Rolex is one of many brands available at Touch of Gold on Spring Garden Road.

Located at the corner of Spring Garden Road, Charm Diamond Centre is Canada’s largest family-owned jewellery company. Shoppers will find a range of Canadian diamonds, as well as collections and gifts.

At Fireworks Gallery on Barrington Street, Old World designs meet New World technique, resulting in fine jewellery of gold, platinum, diamonds and coloured gemstones.

Unique and custom pieces by Canadian and European designers are the specialty at Frida Custom Jewellery Design in Bishop’s Landing on the Halifax waterfront.

Locally owned and operated, Touch of Gold on Spring Garden Road offers an extensive selection of engagement rings, Italian gold and sterling silver, as well as Swiss watches such as Rolex, Tag Heuer, Montblanc and Swiss Army.