After 72 Years, This Philly-Area Institution Is Closing

IndependentsApr 28, 2021

After 72 Years, This Philly-Area Institution Is Closing

Robbins Delaware Diamonds was known for its catchy jingles and for “the guy with the diamond in his beard.”

Robbins Delaware Diamonds is the last store owned by the Robbins family of Philadelphia. Leo and Sylvia Robbins started the family business in the late 1940s, opening a store at 8th and Walnut on Jewelers’ Row.
Newark, Del.—Robbins Delaware Diamonds, a store known for its Philadelphia-famous commercials and “the guy with the diamond in his beard,” will soon be no more. 

 The Philly-area institution co-owned by brothers Gordon and Jason Robbins is in the process of holding a going-out-of-business sale at its one remaining location in Newark, Delaware. 
“After 40 years, I’m done,” Gordon explained to National Jeweler Tuesday. 
Gordon, 56, said he has been working in the family business since he was about 13, and has been selling diamonds since he was 16, continuing a family tradition that began right after World War II. 
The Robbins brothers’ grandparents, Leo and Sylvia, opened Leo Robbins and Sons on 8th and Walnut in Philadelphia in 1949. 
Leo and Sylvia passed down the business to their sons, Jerry and Ron, who made the family’s stores famous in the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley region with their catchy television commercials in the 1970s.

 Related stories will be right here … 

The ads featured the two brothers altering the lyrics of ‘50s and ‘60s hits like “Who Put the Bomp” to make them work for a jewelry store, e.g., “Who put the rock in the rock/the rock/the rock you got.” 
Jerry, who died in 2018, was also known for having a diamond clipped into his signature beard. His caricature still figures prominently in the store’s marketing today. 
“I was known in school as the kid whose dad wore a diamond in his beard,” Gordon recalled in a press release circulated about the store’s closing. 
“My dad was a big presence, and I feel fortunate to have worked shoulder to shoulder with him, and my grandfather and uncles, for many years.”
WATCH: Robbins Delaware Diamonds Is Closing

At its zenith, the family-run business was a five-store chain but, like so many jewelers, the Robbins family and their stores did not escape the Great Recession unscathed.
The store was forced into bankruptcy in 2009 and closed three of the four locations it had then, emerging with just the store in Newark. 
Gordon said they came out of bankruptcy on financially solid ground and did a fine business in Delaware in the years immediately following.
About three years ago, however, he and his brother decided they did not want to renew the store’s lease beyond its current contract and began looking for a buyer, holding talks with both national chains and local competitors. 
Ultimately, however, nothing came of it. COVID hit and it became an “impossible task” to find a buyer.
“I knew it was an uphill battle,” he said. “Nobody wants a retail jewelry business. I don’t know anyone who wants a retail business in general.” 
Gordon Robbins said the store’s going-out-of-business sale, which started earlier this month, is “going gangbusters.” (Photo courtesy of Robbins Delaware Diamonds Facebook page)
Gordon Robbins said the store’s going-out-of-business sale, which started earlier this month, is “going gangbusters.” (Photo courtesy of Robbins Delaware Diamonds Facebook page)
The going-out-of-business sale at Robbins Delaware Diamonds, which is being handled by Wilkerson, started April 9. 
Gordon said being part of the generation that closes the business his grandparents started is bittersweet.
Bitter because he will miss his longtime customers and co-workers; sweet because he won’t miss the more unsavory parts of dealing with the public on a daily basis, or the general stress that comes with running a small business. 
“There is a certain amount of sadness in being the one who’s shutting it down,” Gordon said, but, also, he’s ready to retire to the mountains with his wife and “live out a great second chapter.” 
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

Recorded WebinarsMay 27, 2022
Watch: The 5 Things I Always Take to a Trade Show

Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff is joined by three industry veterans to talk about the items they never leave behind and why.

CollectionsMay 27, 2022
92Y Has Selected its 2022 Artist in Residence

German jewelry artist Alexander Blank is the fourth designer to receive the honor.

CollectionsMay 27, 2022
Piece of the Week: Which Movie Inspired This Chopard Masterpiece?

The answer is “Hair,” and the necklace is from Chopard’s 2022 Red Carpet Collection, rolled out at the Cannes Film Festival.

Brought to you by
3 Reasons to Offer Estate Buying at Your Store

Provide your customers with a seamless selling solution by partnering with Windsor Jewelers, Inc.

Supplier BulletinMay 26, 2022
Extraordinary Italian Jewelry at JCK and COUTURE

Sponsored by Italian Trade Agency

Weekly QuizMay 26, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
SourcingMay 26, 2022
Q&A: Deciphering De Beers’ Blockchain Platform

David Prager virtually sat down with Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff to answer questions about the rollout of Tracr at scale.

AuctionsMay 26, 2022
Bonhams New York Jewels Auction Is a White Glove Sale

Jewelry and objects belonging to Bette Midler, heiress Hélène Irwin Crocker Fagan, and Lady Sylvia Ashley were among the highlights.

Brought to you by
Dive into GIA’s Pearl Expertise

When it comes to knowing the identity and quality of your pearls, count on GIA as your independent pearl experts.

FinancialsMay 26, 2022
Movado Posts Record Q1 Sales Despite ‘Challenging’ US Market

The company opted not to raise its fiscal guidance, citing a slowdown in the U.S. market as a key reason.

TechnologyMay 26, 2022
State of Retail: The Pros and Cons of 4 Jewelry-Selling Platforms

From “old-school” eBay to new kid on the block 1stDibs, we asked jewelers about their experiences selling jewelry in non-traditional places.

Policies & IssuesMay 26, 2022
Barbara Wheat Named Executive Director of Ethical Metalsmiths

She has nearly 30 years’ experience in the gem and jewelry industry and a background in nonprofit management.

EditorsMay 25, 2022
7 Standout Tiaras in Sotheby’s Platinum Jubilee Exhibition

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator chooses the pieces she’d most want to see in person.

MajorsMay 25, 2022
Anne Hathaway Is Bulgari’s Newest Ambassador

The actress joins Zendaya and others in a new advertising campaign.

IndependentsMay 25, 2022
MVEye, Wedding Report Partner on New Jewelry Research Platform

“Today’s Wedding Jewelry Consumer” shares data about engagement ring market size, lab-grown and natural diamonds, and more.

ColumnistsMay 24, 2022
The PR Adviser: 10 Questions to Contemplate

Columnist Lilian Raji wants to walk you through the customer journey. But first, she’d like you to answer a few questions.

Events & AwardsMay 24, 2022
8 Gold Jewelry Designers Unveil New Platinum Designs

Several Couture brands have partnered with Platinum Guild International ahead of the jewelry trade show.

Lab-GrownMay 24, 2022
Kendra Scott Unveils Lab-Grown Engagement Ring Collection

The jewelry company is moving into bridal just a month after branching out into the watch world.

SourcingMay 24, 2022
State of the Diamond Industry: Where Does Supply Go From Here?

The 2008 economic crisis, COVID-19, and sanctions on Russian goods have set the stage for an interesting decade for natural diamond supply.

Events & AwardsMay 24, 2022
WJA to Host Diversity Keynote at New Las Vegas Breakfast Event

The Generating Community Impact fundraiser on June 11 will feature Karine Bah Tahé of Blue Level Training.

WatchesMay 23, 2022
Steven Kaiser, Watch Industry Veteran and Beloved Mentor, Dies at 68

Kaiser, whose illustrious career spanned decades, died suddenly on Friday.

IndependentsMay 23, 2022
Long’s Jewelers to Open New Location

The family-owned jeweler is relocating its Braintree, Massachusetts, store to a new space.

IndependentsMay 23, 2022
Luxury Goods Veteran Olivier Stip Joins Chicago Jeweler CD Peacock

He will step into the retailer’s newly created role of chief development officer.

GradingMay 23, 2022
Gem-A Launches Digital Entry-Level Gemology Course

GemIntro is meant to give a broad introduction to gems and gemology.

Recorded WebinarsMay 20, 2022
Watch: Responsible Sourcing and the Gold Supply Chain

Three industry experts discuss “recycled” gold vs. mined, their challenges and benefits, and how jewelers can navigate the area.

FinancialsMay 20, 2022
Richemont’s 2022 Jewelry Sales in the Americas Nearly Double

Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellati put on stellar performances.

AuctionsMay 20, 2022
Piece of the Week: ‘Birds in Flight’ by Oscar Heyman

The New York jeweler made this incredible, colorful Art Deco bracelet featuring tropical birds in 1927.

SurveysMay 19, 2022
5 Predictions for Jewelry Retail in the Second Half of 2022

From a slowdown in sales growth to rising costs, Fruchtman Marketing outlines its expectations for the second half of the year.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy