2008 Best Fine Jewelry Store: E.R. Sawyer Jewelers
Author: Joy Lanzendorfer
May, 2008 Issue
E.R. Sawyer Jewelers has won our Best Of tally four times so far, a testament to its commitment to serving all its customer’s jewelry needs—and to the loyalty of those customers. This focus on what the customer wants is part of why E.R. Sawyer has lasted 129 years. The store was founded in 1879 by Elbert R. Sawyer. In 1949, Van Dyke’s grandfather bought the store from Sawyer’s widow, and it’s stayed in the family for three generations [see “In the Blood,” April 2008].
Although E.R. Sawyer has sold pieces priced in the six-figure range—and even loaned out a collection of jewery that was worn on the red carpet of the Oscars—no job is too small. So when a woman came in to have a necklace repaired recently, they found a way to repair it, even though it was made out of rubber bands.
“It was her favorite piece,” says Van Dyke. “This necklace wasn’t worth $6, but it was very important to her for whatever reason. She wanted us to figure out a way to fix it, and we did, because its sentimentality was worth far more than the monetary value. All of us have these things—a piece of jewelry or a plate or some family memento that we would never part with, even though it means nothing to anyone else.”
Perhaps because of its long history, E.R. Sawyer strives to make each piece it works on perfect. This standard of perfection has even impressed other jewelers, some of which have had E.R. Sawyer do “trade work” (repairs).
“We’ve had them comment that they’ve never seen work done so well,” says Van Dyke.
In addition to a standard of perfection, E.R. Sawyer sells jewelry that fits the customer’s lifestyle.
“E.R. Sawyer carries a wide variety of designer jewelry,” says Van Dyke. “We look for jewelry that will fit within a customer’s personal style, and we try to accommodate every price point.”
Sometimes, that can even mean making less than other jewelers might try to make on a piece. Recently a couple came into E.R. Sawyer. They were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and the husband wanted to get the wife’s ring upgraded. Every other jeweler the couple had been to had tried to get the husband—who was willing to spend a lot—to purchase a bigger diamond for the ring.
“But the wife kept saying, ‘I don’t want a bigger diamond,’” says Van Dyke. “It was clear to me that what she wanted more than anything was to have her ring fixed and restored to what it was 50 years ago. I heard her express that, and that’s exactly what we did. She was very happy with it, and her husband reminded me that, ‘A happy wife means a happy husband.’”
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