Introducing Our Newest Jewelry Line — Beverly K.


Since 1999, Beverley K. has been dedicated to crafting exquisite jewelry. They are renowned for beautifully detailed styling and fine craftsmanship. New designs are consistently released, keeping their collection fresh and relevant. Owner Morrie Knopp is passionate about every facet of the business. His commitment to excellence has guided Beverley K. into the fine quality brand it is today.


The collection embodies a graceful femininity and there is nothing else quite like it within the jewelry world. Each design celebrates a perfect harmony of gems and precious metals. From lacy, vintage filigree to elegant, modern expression, they offer a variety of rich textures and finishes in bridal rings, wedding bands and fashion jewelry.


Devotion to Craftsmanship
Everything is made in their own factory and must pass through ten completely different quality control stages to meet their impeccable standards. From start to finish, master jewelers create each individual piece with old world craftsmanship. It is a meticulous process. Every surface is hand polished. All of the diamonds and gems are hand-selected to match flawlessly. Skilled artisans engrave and mill by hand. Everything–from the gliding contours of delicate filigree to the pavé ribbons of sparkling diamonds–is refined to pristine perfection.

Come to Leo’s to see this exciting new collection today!


The Best Engagement Rings in 2015

The Antique-Inspired

This diamond ring embodies the classic look of an antique, but is actually a brand new piece! The old European cut center diamond and milgrain surrounding detail really make this retro ring look and feel like an Art Deco heirloom.

Antique-Inspired Engagement Ring from Leo Hamel

The Heavenly Halo

Make sure you have your sunglasses on while wearing this extra sparkly halo engagement ring from Hearts On Fire! The Hearts On Fire Transcend halo and band are set with 0.46 carats of diamonds and the center diamond is a perfectly cut 1.11 carat Hearts On Fire Dream Diamond.


The Pre-Owned Designer

Why pay full retail price for a designer ring when you can buy a previously owned one at a fraction of the cost? Vintage designer rings are the way to go for price-conscious, eco-friendly shoppers. And seeing a designer piece in-person really helps you realize what kind of craftsmanship is behind a brand like Tacori or Tiffany & Co!


The Stacked Rose Gold 

This rose gold engagement ring can be stacked with two marquise-shaped bands for a delicately beautiful look. Plus, this pink gold looks good on almost every skin tone!

Rose Gold Venetti Engagement Ring

The White & Yellow Gold

White gold engagement rings and jewelry have been the rage lately, but more and more people are starting to incorporate yellow gold into their rings. This Venetti engagement ring has both yellow gold and white gold, which makes it stand the test of time!





Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers is a full-service jewelry store in San Diego and is dedicated to helping customers find their dream diamond engagement ring. Please give us a call at (619) 299-1500 or email us at to inquire about a specific jewelry or watch piece that you are interested in.

Why Your Next Watch Should Be a Pre-Owned Rolex

Pre-owned Rolex watches are both TIMELESS and CLASSIC. They are timeless because of the mastery and functionality of the Rolex design, and are classic because they will never go out of style. Rolex watches are still one of the best selling watches of all time and watch connoisseurs always have at least one Rolex in their collection!

These watches are TOUGH!! They are meant to be worn daily and can take a beating. Some of the most beloved Rolex watches were made to perform specific tasks. For example, the Rolex Submariner is a diving watch and is known for its resistance to water and corrosion. The Rolex Daytona is a chronograph used in the racing industry to measure speed. Rolex timepieces are made to withstand years of sunlight, dust, and water submersion. Some people deem the nicks and scratches on their Rolex watches as the battle scars of a trusted companion who has been with them on some of their greatest adventures.

Pre-Owned 18K Gold Rolex Submariner

Rolex watches can hold or increase in VALUE. Like any classic that is crafted with the utmost attention to detail and aesthetics, a vintage Rolex can have incredible value and is a true investment. These perfectly engineered instruments are coveted in the collectors’ world. In fact, a 1942 Rolex Chronograph sold at an auction for 1.16 million in 2011!

Leo Hamel Watch Repair

Modern pre-owned Rolexes are an amazing deal. Since these watches were crafted to be workhorses, they hold up over the years. When refurbished and refinished they can look every bit as sleek and shiny as a new watch. Buying a pre-owned watch will give you that same great look for a fraction of the retail price. Only YOU will know you didn’t pay full retail price.

Rolex Watch Refinish
Before Refinishing and After Refinishing Our Customer’s Rolex Datejust


Come to our San Diego Avenue showroom to see our ever-changing selection of like-new, pre-owned, and vintage Rolex watches, or to get your Swiss or German watch serviced. Servicing your timepiece every 3 to 5 years will allow you to pass your watch down to your children!

If you would like to get your watch refinished to look like new again by our in-house watch repair department, please visit our website or call us at (619) 299-1500.


The Diamond – April’s Lustrous Birthstone

Diamonds are one of the most coveted gemstones in the world, and people that are born in April are lucky enough to declare these lustrous masterpieces their birthstone.

The origin of birthstones are somewhat uncertain; however, it is hypothesized that they date back to biblical times when a priest adorned his breastplate with a dozen different-colored gems. Each of the 12 gems eventually became associated with the zodiac, which led to one stone being assigned for each month.

Birthstones by Month. Image courtesy of AGS.

According to the Gemological Institute of America and other grading institutions, a diamond’s quality is evaluated based on the 4 Cs: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.

Color refers to the absence of color (usually referring to yellow or brown tints) in a white diamond. The less color in the stone, the whiter its appearance and the more desirable and valuable it is. There are, however, diamonds that are valuable because of their intensity of color, such as fancy yellow, pink, blue, black, and others.

Pear Shaped White & Fancy Light Pink Diamond Engagement Ring
Fancy Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring

Clarity measures the amount, size and placement of internal “inclusions” and external blemishes. Inclusions are bits of crystals, minerals, or even other diamonds that were captured inside the diamond while it was forming. Clarity grades run from Flawless, containing no visible imperfections under 10-power magnification, to Included, containing a number of eye-visible imperfections.

Yehuda's diamonds are clarity enhanced, which saves the customer money on a nicer looking diamond!
Yehuda’s diamonds are clarity enhanced, which saves the customer money on a nicer looking diamond!

Cut refers to the proportion and arrangement of the diamond’s facets and the quality of workmanship. The amount of brilliance, sparkle and fire in a diamond is mainly determined by cut.

Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Ring
Marquise Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Carat weight refers to a diamond’s weight. Generally speaking, the heavier the diamond, the larger it appears in size. A diamond’s price is partly determined by weight (number of carats times the price per carat). The price per carat varies according to the other quality factors of color, clarity, and cut.

Small 0.17 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring


Large 4.96 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring

Vintage and antique diamond engagement rings are popular with people of all ages because the vintage price for a diamond is generally lower than the new retail price for a similar diamond. Buying vintage also helps to save the environment because no new diamonds were mined to create the ring.

Antique Diamond Engagement Ring from the Edwardian Era

Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers in San Diego, California specializes in new, vintage, and antique diamond engagement rings. To browse just a sample of the jewelry and watches that are available in our showroom, please visit

Rolex Watches Stand the Test of Time

Preowned Rolex Watches from Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers San DiegoThere are three reasons why Rolex watches stand the test of time – the movement, the craftsmanship, and the innovation. In over 100 years this company dedicated to masterful timepieces has not only thrived, but their watches have become a symbol of status and wealth throughout the world.

If you are looking to invest in a heirloom that is known for quality, Rolex may be the statement piece for you. Unlike other unstable investments, a Rolex tends to hold its value over time. Because Rolex carefully monitors the supply of their timepieces, these watches are one investment that can be used for years and still give a return, a big benefit in times of inflation.


  • 1905 – Hans Wilsdorf founded Rolex (then called “Wilsdorf and Davis”) in London.
  • 1914 – The Kew Observatory awarded a Class A precision certificate to a Rolex watch.
  • 1919 – Wilsdorf moved the company to Geneva, Switzerland where it was established as the Rolex Watch Company.
  • 1925 – The Kew Observatory awarded the first Class A precision certificate to a ladies watch – a Rolex watch.
  • 1926 – The Rolex Oyster was invented, the world’s first truly waterproof case.
  • 1927 – Mercedes Gleitze swam the English Channel wearing a Rolex Oyster watch.
  • 1931 – The Rolex Perpetual rotor was invented, the first self-winding movement.
  • 1945 – The Rolex Datejust was produced, the world’s first waterproof, self-winding calendar wrist chronometer showing the date automatically in a dial window.
  • 1953 – The Rolex Submariner was introduced, the first wristwatch for skin-divers.
  • 1954 – The first ladies’ Rolex Oyster Perpetual was on the market.
  • 1954 – The Rolex GMT Master was produced, made especially for pilots, showing exact time in any two time zones.
  • 1956 – The Rolex Day-Date was introduced; the first wrist chronometer with date and the day of the week written in full (now comes in 26 languages).
  • 1960- Hans Wilsdorf died, leaving his company to the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.
  • 1971 – The Rolex Sea-Dweller was launched, the first with a helium escape valve, guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 2000 feet.
  • 1980 – The Rolex Sea-Dweller is now guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 4000 feet.
  • 2011 – The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer in an impressive variety of precious metals and dial colors, with and without diamonds, on straps or bracelets, some now available with ceramic bezels, is still first on many people’s lists as the finest watch available.


A Colorful Engagement

Princess Diana had a strong influence on influence on fashion, style, and design, starting with her luxurious oval sapphire and diamond engagement ring. When Prince William gave the now-vintage sapphire ring to Kate Middleton, it rekindled awareness of colored gemstones as an alternative to the customary diamond center stone.

Today, more brides-to-be are foregoing traditions and choosing unique engagement rings to suit their style and preferences; often choosing a stunning colored gemstone ring or a distinctive vintage diamond ring to express their love. Whatever kind of engagement ring expresses your personal style, we have it for you at Leo’s!

When choosing a colored stone for your engagement ring, there are a few factors to keep in mind. After all, this is a ring you’ll be wearing every day and you want to be sure that the gem you select is up to the task. The Mohs scale, a comparative hardness chart for minerals, can tell help you measure the relative ease or difficulty one has scratching any particular mineral with the adjacent one. As you can see in the image below, it’s not a constant increase from one hardness rating to the next – diamond at 10 is four times harder than corundum (sapphires and rubies) at 9.

Hardness and toughness aren’t the same thing, however. Hardness is resistance to scratching and toughness is resistant to breakage. Did you know that jadeite, the green jade so prized in Eastern countries, is tougher than diamond? Diamond is the hardest substance on earth, it’s true, but it’s not the toughest – a direct hammer blow will likely chip or cleave a diamond. A direct hammer blow on a fine piece of jade won’t accomplish much, but jade is much more easily scratched. In short, it is important to select a gemstone that will match your needs for durability, as well as aesthetics.

To browse just some of our selection of colored diamond engagement rings, visit our website!

For colored gemstone jewelry, please go here.

Leo Hamel’s Perfect Proposal Contest 2014

Leo Hamel Perfect Proposal LogoEveryone dreams of the ultimate surprise proposal – and, for the 4th year in a row, Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers is giving the opportunity to make that dream a reality!

To enter, San Diegans will submit their love stories to Leo Hamel’s Perfect Proposal and share why their beloved deserves the surprise proposal of a lifetime. The lucky person that is picked will win an $11,000 Venetti engagement ring set with 1.34 carats of dazzling diamonds.Perfect Proposal Engagement Ring

In addition to receiving the designer ring, the winner will surprise their special someone by proposing  on stage at the Balboa Park December Nights festival on December 5, 2014.

To enter, users can visit and submit their love story. Submissions end on November 15, 2014, and the winner will be notified on November 21, 2014.

2014 Leo Hamel Perfect Proposal Contest Perfect Proposal Leo Hamel 2014

Rainy Day Gemstones

What do rainy days and gemstones have in common? Many of the finest gems in the world come from what are known as alluvial deposits. Over time, water erodes bedrock material and washes gems away, naturally tumbling them for long periods of time in rivers and streams until they finally come to rest in a valley or stream bed . Gems found in alluvial deposits are typically very high in clarity, having been put to the test by the crushing force of water and glaciers. Tourmaline is a gem often found in these types of deposits. This red tourmaline is one of the finest we’ve seen, being both high in clarity and very saturated in color. Perhaps a rainy day long ago washed it all the way to us!

red tourmaline ring
See this and many other gorgeous gems in our showroom!

Incredible Craftsmanship from William Henry Studios

The renowned William Henry Studio creates bold works of functional art. Their writing instruments, golf tools, and money clips are produced only as limited editions, made from aerospace grade titanium and contain the finest materials such as exotic hardwood, fossil ivory, mokume, damascus, aerospace grade titanium, and inlaid gemstones. Each one is finished entirely by hand to the same exacting standards they have developed for their pocketknives. William Henry creates pieces that enhance your life, everyday, from the frontier to the boardroom; it’s the perfect gift for the most discerning men and women.

William Henry creates the most unique and artful knives imaginable. These heirloom quality pieces are a blend of modern technology, fine craftsmanship, and exotic materials like mammoth tooth, mammoth bone, fossilized brain coral, meteorite, dinosaur bone and snake wood. Their cutting instruments offer unmatched performance as daily carry tools and are found among the finest collections in the world. Every knife is a one of a kind limited edition, comes with a lifetime warranty and is made in the USA by skilled artisans.

Anyone who owns a fine Swiss watch will also appreciate the craftsmanship of a fine knife or pen.  Although knives are traditionally thought of as something men would be attracted to, men also give them as gifts to women, and women even buy knives for themselves. The pens and golf tools appeal to both men and women, and more women are using money clips than ever before.

William Henry masterpieces are gifts that the recipients will enjoy owning for years to come, and then passed on to heirs to be treasured for their lifetimes too.

Why Choose a Ball Watch for your Next Timepiece?

By Leo Hamel

Ball Watch is one of the most respected and established watch companies in the United States. They continue to update and innovate there product to keep pace with shifting consumer patterns and demands. Despite changes in appearance, the founding spirit of the brand – industrial function – is never compromised. It is upheld in Ball’s original details, such as the watch dial that faithfully follows the original design guidelines. Every detail, from the shape of the hands, to the style of the numerals, was laid down by founder Webb C. Ball in his quest for accuracy in timekeeping. Come in to Leo’s today and see for yourself why Ball Watch has become a top name in the timepiece business!

Here is the fascinating story of the Ball Watch Company from their own website:

To a large extent, the development of the watch industry in America can be attributed to the advent and subsequent development of American railroads.

Prior to the advent of trains as a means of transporting people and goods, there was no real need for precise timekeeping or uniform time. Even after the railroad system in the United States had reached significant proportions following the Civil War, communities continued to maintain their local times.

By the end of 1883, the railroad industry had agreed, at least among themselves, to divide the nation into four time zones and had adopted Standard Time. The public soon followed suit, although it is interesting to note that the Congress did not officially sanction the concept until 1918.

Webb C. Ball was born in Fredericktown, Ohio on October 6, 1847. When Standard Time was adopted in 1883, he was the first jeweler to use time signals, bringing accurate time to Cleveland. On July 19, 1891, the General Superintendent of Lake Shore Lines appointed Webb C. Ball as Chief Inspector for the lines. His early inspection system was the beginning of the vast Ball network that would encompass 75% of the railroads throughout the country and cover at least 175,000 miles of railroad. Webb C. Ball also extended his system into Mexico and Canada.

On April 19, 1891 the Fast Mail train known as No. 4 was coming west on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad in Kipton, Ohio. At Elyria, 25 miles from Cleveland, the Engineer and the Conductor of the Accomodation were given orders to let the fast mail train pass them at Kipton, a small station west of Oberlin, the University town.

As the Conductor of Accomodation admitted afterward, from the time the train left Elyria until it collided with the Fast Mail at Kipton, he did not take his watch out of his pocket. He said that he supposed the Engineer would look out for Fast Mail No. 4. But the Engineer’s watch stopped for four minutes and then began running again, a little matter of life and death of which he was unconscious. There were several stations between Elyria and Kipton, but the Engineer pounded slowly along in the belief that he had time to spare.

Leaving Oberlin, the Engineer supposed he had seven minutes before reaching the meeting point. Of course he only had three minutes. Had the Conductor looked at his own watch he could have prevented the accident. The trains came together at Kipton, the Fast Mail at full speed and the Accomodation under brakes, because it was nearing the station. The Engineers of both trains were killed, and the dead bodies of nine clerks were taken from the kindling wood and broken iron of the postal cars.

The Kipton Disaster prompted the Lake Shore officials to enlist Webb C. Ball to investigate Time and Watch conditions throughout the Lake Shore Line and develop an inspection system for their implementation.

Webb C. Ball set about immediately and put in place fortnightly checks on the watches worn by all railroad workers. The checks were carried out by approved watchmakers. Ball set strict standards, forbidding variations more than 30 seconds among the watches.

It is important to recognize and applaud Webb C. Ball, for his system was the first successful one to be accepted on a broad scale. It was his system that set the standard for railroads; it was his system that helped establish accuracy and uniformity in timekeeping. It was his system that resulted in railroad time and railroad watches being recognized as STANDARD, whenever accuracy in time was required. In general, it became accepted that when the average person asks a railroad man the time, he is assured a correct answer.

Today, BALL Watch is one of the most respected and established watch brands in the United States. We continue to update the product range in the 21st century to keep pace with shifting consumer patterns. But, despite changes in appearance, the founding spirit of the brand – industrial function – is never compromised.

It is upheld in Ball’s original details, such as the watch dial that faithfully follows his design guidelines for the standard railway watch. Every detail, from the shape of the hands to the style of the numerals, was laid down by the founder in his quest for accuracy in timekeeping.

It is a vision that the Ball family remains faithful to. For legions of men and women today whose split-second decisions keep the world ticking, it is a shared commitment.

BALL Watch – Since 1891, Accuracy Under Adverse Conditions