We caught up with Joe Shovak recently to discuss Iannelli Diamonds’ success in the NYC Diamond District, and more importantly to congratulate him on his family’s business taking a Top 10 spot in our Diamond District NYC Best Stores review. Getting into our top 10 is no easy feat because there are 1365 Jewelers on 47th Street’s Jewelers Row and only ten make it. This means about 1 out of 135 stores.
We asked Joe about the history of the store because we knew, after 60 years in the diamond business, Iannelli Diamonds must have a great story. We were right.
Jonathan Winter: “Your store metrics are terrific. Between a rock solid five-star rating from your customers on YELP, an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and a strong fan base on Facebook, we know that you deliver great customer satisfaction. What we want to know about is the Iannelli story. Tell us about the store’s history.”
Joe Shovak: “Sure. Iannelli Diamonds started in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. My grandfather Michael Iannelli and his brother Carmine Iannelli opened the business in 1956. We celebrated our 60th Anniversary last year. Uncle Carmine served in World War II and then received funding from the GI Bill to train on how to set diamonds – that is how he got started.”
Jonathan: “When did your family business move from Brooklyn to Jewelers Row?”
Joe: “In the mid 1970s. The Diamond District was expanding on 47th Street and the Iannelli family wanted to become part of it. We started small, with Carmine opening a little diamond booth in the Diamond Exchange. Pretty soon my grandfather joined Carmine in Manhattan and shut down our Brooklyn store completely.”
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Jonathan: “What about Anthony and Mario?”
Joe: “Anthony and Mario Iannelli are Michael’s sons. Anthony was the driving force behind the business’ energy in the 1970s and he moved the business to our current location here at 45 West 47th in 1990. Also, by that time Michael and Carmine had retired to Texas and Anthony had fully taken the reins. Mario joined in the late 1990s completing the Iannelli Brothers return.”
Jonathan: “And you are the third generation Iannelli?”
Jonathan: “What makes Iannelli different than the other stores here on 47th Street?”
Joe: “First, understand that there are both good and bad operators on Jewelers Row, so that is a tough question. We focus on quality of product, not slickness of presentation. We’re pretty laid back so when a customer walks into our store they don’t feel like they are being pressured. We’d love to sell them a diamond of course, but we are in this for the long game. By providing great service and very importantly understanding the customer’s needs today we will keep them for a lifetime…”
After we finished with Joe we spent time online with Iannelli Diamond’s inventory. We were looking for three very specific inventory attributes on their website. The first was the focus on GIA graded diamonds. The second was the size of inventory itself and the third is the ability to sort that inventory right down to polish and symmetry. Iannelli Diamonds had nailed all three. We were happy…
Then we inquired about their non-diamond inventory. Settings, wedding bands, etc. It was massive. When I asked Joe if they ever run into customers that have needs they can’t satisfy he said: “that’s usually not a problem, but if we don’t have it we can get it, and if it’s really unusual or unique we can make it custom for the customer.”
We highly recommend stopping by Iannelli Diamonds on your next trip to the Diamond District. Spend time with Anthony, Mario and Joe and tell them what you are looking for. Even if you can’t put it in words, their reputation suggests they will be able to find just the right piece for you anyway.
You can reach Iannelli Diamonds at 212-575-1700
Their address is: 45 West 47th Street
Tell them Jewelers.NYC sent you!
Disclosure: Jewelers.NYC receives no compensation from Iannelli Diamonds.