HALFMOON, N.Y. — The owners and staffs of two local businesses held long-delayed ribbon cuttings last week to let the public know their stores are open and waiting to serve them.
Glennpeter Jewelers Diamond Centre and Heaven & Earth Gift Shoppe are both in the Glennpeter Plaza, 1505 Route 9, Halfmoon. In fact they are next to each other and owned by husband and wife Jeff and Cathy Weiss.
Jeff Weiss is the CEO of Glennpeter Jewelers Diamond Centres in Halfmoon and Albany while Cathy Weiss is the owner of Heaven & Earth Gift Shoppe in Halfmoon. Indeed, the gift shop is located in the space formerly occupied by the jewelry store. In 2019 Jeff Weiss renovated the larger space to create a diamond center in Halfmoon to match the one he has in Albany.
The couple celebrated the formal openings of their businesses May 20.
“We opened this space last June after having been closed for three months,” said Glennpeter Jewelers Chief Operating Officer Tracy Lewis. “It’s a 4,000-square-foot diamond center. We have every major diamond brand.”
To understand the different brands one has only to turn to the store’s general manager Dawn Amoroso. Amoroso is the person that can get a customer exactly what they want even if they’re unsure of all the terminology. She’s been with Glennpeter Jewelers 23 years.
Asked to name a few brands of diamonds that the store carries she rattled off names like Fire Princess, Fire Cushion, and Facets of Fire; each, she said, is unique in its own way.
“The cut is 60 percent of your diamond,” Amoroso said. “We are the only store in the area that carries the most perfectly cut diamonds.”
As she explained the intricacies of diamonds further, Amoroso noted that the Fire Princess diamond is a princess cut diamond that is perfectly partitioned whereas a Fire Cushion diamond is a cushion cut diamond that’s perfectly partitioned.
“The two biggest factors with any diamond are its shape and the light return,” she said. “Shape can be a square cut or a cushion cut, like a seat cushion. With light dispersion you could have white (light) or rainbow prism. Facets of Fire has rainbow prism; you look into it and it looks like a disco ball.”
As one would expect the large store has glass cases comfortably spaced and filled with a variety of neatly displayed jeweled items. It also has handcrafted artwork on its walls and a functioning bar. Both are a nod to the Albany location.
For a number of years Glennpeter Jewelers has allowed its Albany store to be used as a venue for charity fundraisers. The bar operates on a cash basis during the fundraisers and 100 percent of the take goes to the charity.
“We’ve raised over $3 million for the community through the fundraisers and all that money stays in the community,” Jeff Weiss said. “We applied for and eventually got a liquor license to use at the fundraisers. Before COVID we had 15 to 20 events each month.”
Prior to the renovation and move all fundraisers were held at the Albany store because of its greater size. With the new location in Halfmoon Southern Saratoga County charities can stay local.
The fundraising events started when a board member from a local charity came in and asked Weiss for a donation of a piece of jewelry for a silent auction. Weiss asked them some questions about their event, found out how much they were paying for the space, and offered the use of his store.
“It got so big we had to hire a full-time events coordinator,” he said last week.
Discussing how he got into the business Weiss noted that he is a certified gemologist while his wife Cathy is a geologist. Her store, Heaven and Earth Gift Shoppe, is filled with crystals, local artisan works, and Herkimer diamond (quartz) jewelry pieces which she designs.
“The Herkimer diamonds are dug from her mine in Fonda,” Jeff Weiss said.
For the formal ribbon cuttings the stores’ staffs, supporters, friends and family held two separate events in front of each storefront rather than simply stretching two ribbons in front of the diamond center.
It was a festive occasion with a lot of good humor and wisecracks as to what to say and what to do for the photos. When the last shot had been taken it was quickly back to work serving customers.