30+ Years in the Community
Exquisite Gold & Gems, Thunder Bay’s Jewellery Store, is a locally owned store with a long history in the community. In 1986, John (Chuck) Sandford became a personal jeweller, selling hand-picked gold jewellery to a small, close-knit group of customers. His interest in gold and gems grew, and Chuck enrolled at George Brown College to become a goldsmith, learning the craft and business from the inside out. He returned to Thunder Bay to open his first store in Westfort, building his clientele on trust, great service, and of course exquisite pieces.
As his clientele grew, so did his store. In 1991, Chuck opened his first Thunder Bay store at 108 E. Frederica St. In 1995, the store moved to 133 W. Frederica St. and then to Arthur Street Marketplace (Thunder Bay Mall) at 1101 W Arthur St. in 2001. Chuck expanded to his largest showroom space yet at our current location, 1094 Memorial Ave., in 2012.
Chuck continued to expand his knowledge as well, training as a gemologist at the Gemological Institute of America. He is one of only two Certified Appraisal Professionals from Winnipeg to Elliot Lake – and the other is also at Exquisite Gold & Gems (please see “Our Team”, below).
Today, Exquisite Gold & Gems continues to focus on the values that helped them become Thunder Bay’s Jewellery Store: personal service, the highest level of expertise, and an eye for exquisite jewellery that is sure to thrill and delight Thunder Bay clientele.
Christine Sandford joined Exquisite Gold & Gems part-time in 1993 as bookkeeper and became full-time in 2001 as the store grew. Today she oversees all the behind-the-scenes details including inventory, buying, and marketing.
Assistant Manager Yvonne Homer is a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America and is the only other Certified Appraisal Professional besides Chuck between Winnipeg and Elliot Lake. Yvonne joined the company in 2010 with an extensive sales background and has fallen even more in love with gemstones.
Jane Komoski joined Exquisite Gold & Gems in 2011 as a goldsmith with over 30 years experience in jewellery, repair, and custom design. Her eye for detail, meticulous work, and creative designs makes her an invaluable part of the Exquisite team.
Jenna Doughty joined Exquisite Gold & Gems in 2014 as a part-time sales associate. As Chuck introduced her to jewellery and watch repair, Jenna quickly realized that she was more interested how things are made. She decided to invest two years to go to George Brown and graduated in 2019 from the Jewellery Methods program. Jenna returned to us as an up-and-coming goldsmith and has started learning watch repair.
Armelle Sandford has been with the store since birth. As an adult, she is now our photographer, and responsible for ad creation and merchandising.
Parlez-vous français? Stephanie Cloutier speaks French as her first language! Si vous êtes plus à l’aise en français, demandez pour Stephanie.