Cedros jewelry store aims for fresh approach

By Staff

Passion Fine Jewelry on South Cedros Avenue is not your typical jewelry store, Chief Executive Officer Gary Hill said.

The three-person staff, all shareholders, aims to get to know a customer personally while helping him or her pick out the perfect watch or diamond.

"I want you to come in to feel like you're here and chatting with a friend, and this friend just so happens to be an expert in diamonds," said Janna Hill, who owns the store with Gary Hill and Tim Jackson.

Unlike other jewelry stores, there are no long and narrow glass tables that stand between a salesperson and a customer.

"Most jewelers know that trust is a big factor, but they set up their store so that immediately when a person walks in, they're in an adversarial position. The customer is on one side and the store attendant on the other," Gary Hill said. "I was looking for ways to break down that barrier."

Passion Fine Jewelry, which opened in place of Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers the day before Valentine's Day, instead has couches and coffee tables with products on display inside of them. Customers sit with salespeople over wine or coffee, discuss exactly what they are looking for, and take advice on the most appropriate independent timepiece or diamond.

Gary Hill said the setup is especially helpful for those in the market for the first time, most notably men looking for engagement rings.

"They're already not sure they're doing the right thing, they already know they're going to spend more money than they really want to spend, and they're scared to death," he said. "And they don't know whether she's going to say 'yes.'"

For more information contact Passion Fine Jewelry at (858) 794-8000 or visit www.passion

finejewelry.com. The store is at 415 S. Cedros Ave., Suite 100, in Solana Beach.

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