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Our History

 

Leo's career in jewelry began as a salesperson at the jewelry counter in the Walker Scott department store. Leo was fired several times for bending the rules to give his customers a better shopping experience but was always re-hired because he was our top salesman. His boss at the time "suggested" that he start his own business. So in 1980, with $125 in our pockets, Leo and I, his partner Robin Hart, ventured out on our own.

At swap meets, street fairs, and any place that people were gathering, we would set up a small table, and gradually our zealous following of loyal customers grew. Customers would tell us what they were looking for in watches, diamonds, or jewelry, and we would find it for them at a great price.

After a couple of years, Leo and I were doing enough business to open our first store on El Cajon Blvd., which was so small that our first employee couldn't fit behind the counters anymore after becoming pregnant! A few years later, we recruited Leo's sister Lisa to join the company. By then, we were specializing in preowned Rolex and Patek Philippe watches, as well as fine diamonds and Japanese pearls.

We were finally able to move to a larger store just down the street. As a company, we continued to gain expertise in fine vintage jewelry, preowned Swiss watches, colored gemstones, and diamonds, and to make even more friends and customers.

A couple of years after that brought another move for us, yet further west on El Cajon Blvd. Here our fledgling company really started to expand, as we began to take on national brands of distinction, such the elite Hearts On Fire® jewelry brand. Leo's third partner, Maggie Scheuer, joined us and we continued to expand the services that we could offer to our customers and to sharpen our customer service skills.

Leo's philosophy was, "We are off the beaten path and can give our customers a great deal along with excellent service." Even as we moved into new stores that were progressively larger and more beautiful, we retained the feeling of a family-owned and operated business, and because of that, our family of loyal customers continued to grow.

In 2004, we finally moved to our current store on San Diego Avenue, the largest and most complete, full service fine jewelry store in San Diego County. We specialize in giving our customers fantastic value on vintage jewelry, preowned watches, diamonds, and designer jewelry. Though the company has grown a lot from being just a table at the swap meet, many of our original customers still shop here, along with their children and even their children's children!

We hope that you will visit us soon so you can experience our outstanding customer service for yourself. Please contact Leo, Lisa, Robin, or Maggie at info@leohamel.com if you have any comments, compliments, suggestions, or ideas for improvement.