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Putting the 'Perry' in Perrywinkles - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Putting the 'Perry' in Perrywinkles

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Perrywinkle's Fine Jewelry -- 8,000 square feet of glitz, glamour and shine -- is Vermont's largest jewelry store.

"We do more business in this store than there is jewelry business in Vermont," said Perrywinkle's Perry Sporn.

But there's more sparkle than meets the eye -- 85 percent of the jewelry is designed and created in house. That's about 150 designs a year.  "True brands, true fine design -- you start out with hand drawings," Sporn said.

Perry Sporn is the Perry in Perrywinkle's. He first started selling jewelry in New York City during college as a way to pay for tuition. That side business turned into a career -- opening his first store in New York in 1981.  He visited Vermont and decided to open a store in the state. He fell in love with the community and eventually moved his headquarters here.  He never graduated college. "It was my favorite place to visit. I loved the people," he said.
 
The company makes jewels under the Perrywinkle brand, and another brand called Devotion -- an upscale line that competes with Tiffany's and Harry Winston.  Sporn has created an empire -- he now owns 22 stores.  "The only American companies that design, make and sell is Perrywinkles, Devotion and Tiffanys," he said.

Sporn employs 70 people in Vermont -- 500 total.  There are many stages to creating an original piece -- from design, to molding and casting -- to setting the stones and polishing and finishing.  Sporn travels the world -- from Israel to Thailand -- hand selecting every Perrywinkle or Devotion diamond. Each one has a serial number laser inscribed.

Reporter Gina Bullard: When you're looking for diamonds, what are you looking for?

Perry Sporn: Good ones.

Devotion diamonds have a unique patented cut designed by Sporn himself. "You can see my pattern is completely different in here -- and what it does, it adds more fire," he said. The average Perrywinkle engagement ring costs $5,000. The average Devotion ring -- $15,000. "To a woman it's a connection to her man. A testament to what they've achieved in life and it's passed down -- the product has so much emotion to it," Sporn said.

A jeweler bringing a little extra sparkle to people's lives.

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