Spicer Greene: 21st-Century Elegance - TribPapers

Spicer Greene: 21st-Century Elegance

Knowledgeable gemologists can help customers make decisions with confidence at the Diamond Bar.

Asheville – Spicer Greene Jewelers is at the heart of Asheville. The renovated gas station with its 1920s Seth Thomas street clock has been a city landmark since before most of us were born. “It still works, unless we forget to wind it,” said co-owner Eva-Michelle Spicer.

The business started in 1926, when E. O. Wick opened a jewelry repair shop on Wall Street. The business continues to repair watches and fine jewelry today, but it wasn’t until later that it started retailing. In 2016, Spicer and her husband, Elliott, bought Wick and Greene from her grandmother, Lucia Greene. Spicer said they didn’t reinvent the business, but they brought it into the 21st century and made it more in tune with the interests of younger generations.

Spicer grew up in the business. It was at the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California, where she met her husband, Elliott. He is a third-generation jeweler from eastern Canada, and they were both pursuing their graduate gemologist degrees.

The store is reminiscent of a geode. Inside the hard, drizzly gray exterior of downtown life, the doors open to an immaculate, sparkling gem of modern elegance. In the cases are rings, bracelets, and earrings with less-familiar gemstones like slate teal alexandrite, misty blue iolite, and knockout Paraiba tourmaline. One of the showrooms is dedicated to estate jewelry and another to watches for the most discerning collectors.

If you want a bracelet with alternating diamonds and sapphire stones, all emerald cut, Spicer said, ‘We can source anything from a phone call.” The store has longstanding relationships with many luxury vendors.

Spicer Greene’s items have price tags ranging from $200 to $200,000. Asked how they move inventory that won’t sell, she said the store has an annual sale each year to make room for the newly purchased items. They’re held in July, so this year’s is right around the corner.

Other items that don’t sell can be refurbished and repurposed. Spicer said they do their own setting onsite, but they outsource for gem cutting. They employ eight goldsmiths who handle everything from design through finishing. Anybody looking for a beautiful, locally-made luxury piece can find something in the cases or design their own.

Spicer will consider buying “anything” people bring into the store, from broken scrap gold and mismatched earrings to heirloom-quality estate jewelry. When sourcing from designers, Spicer looks for items that fit the business’ standards for quality, luxury, etc. and will appeal to buyers. She also looks for one-of-a-kind pieces because people like unique items at any price. In addition, Spicer travels to markets—not as many as she would like, but she just got back from a multi-venue show in Las Vegas.

Spicer Greene owns the intellectual property rights to Diamond Bar, but they license them to several other businesses across North America. It’s an online platform that handles just about anything somebody would want to do with a diamond, from a business perspective. It’s like a Kelley Blue Book in that its “proprietary diamond pricing technology” is deployed to find a diamond’s current value. It can also trace the gem’s historic values and bring up a list of comparables.

“Jewelry’s like a lot of other retail businesses these days. Gone are the days of, ‘Just trust me,’” said Spicer. Modern shoppers demand transparency, so education permeates the culture at Spicer Greene, going beyond the basic 4 Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat) talking points. Spicer Greene employs eight graduate gemologists to help people decide with confidence when making tremendous investments for that special someone.

Another feature available from Diamond Bar is recycling, or recutting and resetting. The website states, “Diamond Bar is the first platform to buy, sell, and upgrade diamonds with transparent pricing. Our Diamond Ecosystem allows diamonds to be recycled for the good of the planet and the good of our customers.”

Spicer said the greatest joy of working at Spicer Greene is getting to be a part of the happiest moments in customers’ lives. If it’s not an engagement, people purchase luxury jewelry for graduations, anniversaries, excellence in the workplace, or other celebrations of life’s milestones.

A lot of times, people will get down on one knee and pop the big question right in the store. They’ll come in and select a ready-made ring from one of the displays together, or they’ll work on designing a ring together.

Spicer invited the Tribune’s readers to “come and see us.” Spicer Greene is located at 121 Patton Avenue. They have their own, hassle-free parking lot under the clock.