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About Us

Cornell's was started in 1923 at 197 Chatham Street, Rochester, N.Y. Harry Cornell, at the age of 16, started taking in clock repairs for local jewelers as a side job while still working another full time job. As an incentive for the jewelers to give Harry the work, he would pick up and deliver the clocks as part of the service he provided.

In 1932, while the world was still suffering from the Great Depression, Harry was owed a year's worth of back salary from his full time employer. With uncertainty about the future, Harry made arrangements with his employer to take compensation in the form of jewelry merchandise, and decided to go into business full time on his own.

Joined shortly thereafter by his brother, Maurice, Harry spent much of his time traveling regionally calling on jewelers in several states, while Maurice minded their office back in the Burke building in Rochester. In the following years, as the wholesale business grew to many small towns and cities, two other salesman joined the firm, along with a full time secretary and bookkeeper.

In 1961, while occupying space in room 414 of the Burke Building, the firm became incorporated and formally known as Harry Cornell & Company, Inc. During the years to come, the business would move to the Granite Building in 1967, and then the Temple Building in 1973.

In May of 1984, the four partners retired and Harry Cornell's son, David, took over the business. In the Spring of 1997, after 74 years being located in downtown Rochester, Cornell's moved to a Suburban location at 3100 Monroe Avenue where it is currently located.

Cornell's has grown to a fine jewelry store with full services being offered our customers such as Custom design work, jewelry and watch repairs, gift wrapping, delivery, shipping, appraisal work, estate Consulting, bridal needs, gift registry and personal shopping. Due to these many fine services, the volume of branded products, Cornell's is a couture store-an honor which is bestowed on only 125 stores in the country.

For three generations, Cornell’s Jewelers have been keeping romance alive! How do we do it? By selling diamonds, jewelry and watches that satisfy the professional eye as well as the eye of anyone who walks into our store. The Cornell family knows quality and value, and would never sell a diamond, jewelry or a watch that doesn’t meet our personal grade. In fact, less than 1-percent of the diamonds presented to us at Cornell’s actually make it into our store. Of course, even a perfect diamond is just a shiny rock without a great setting. That’s why we take such care to craft settings that complement the individual character of each diamond, with an end result that is simply stunning. At Cornell’s Jewelers we work hard so that you get so much more!

Cornell’s Jewelers features other well know designs like Tacori, Hearts on Fire, Phillips House, Marco Bicego and Gurhan. Visit our exclusive John Hardy Boutique featuring Bali-based designs with chic and organic jewelry. We also feature a Timepieces boutique; Affordable Chic boutique… whatever you’re looking for you can find it at Cornell’s Jewelers.

Cornell’s Jewelers brings nationwide excellence to the Rochester and upstate New York area. Cornell’s Jewelers is a certified member of the American Gem Society. Twice we were ranked by the New York State Jewelers Association as New York State’s Favorite Jewelry Retail Store, and Harper’s Bazaar calls us a leader in jewelry for our beautiful merchandising and our outstanding customer service. We were rated 2nd in the nation by INSTORE Magazine’s “Coolest Jewelry Store” contest. When you come to Cornell’s, you’re getting the best of the best – of the country, not just the Rochester area.

Come have a glass of wine, sip some espresso and nibble a cookie, or check out the scores of all your favorite sports teams on our flat screen TVs while you search for that perfect gift. If you have small children, you should know that we have a children’s entertainment area.

A diamond is a gift for a lifetime, so buying one should be a magical experience online or in our store.

Our style is affordable chic -- and if that doesn’t explain it, then you will just HAVE to come in and find out for yourself. The experience at Cornell’s Jewelers is absolutely Unique!


Why do we love jewelry?

Why does a certain piece of jewelry call out our name?

Why is a single piece of jewelry able to transform us?


Jewelry is sensual.

One of the most famous portraits of a nude woman is a piece by renowned artist, Manet, entitled "Olympia" which depicts a nude woman wearing earrings, a necklace and a ring. The feelings evoked by this painting are ones of admiration, not only for the beauty of the portrait itself, but also for the ease of the subject in his work. How beautiful Olympia looks in her adornment…radiant, demure and confident enough in her own skin to be drawn nude. Simply imagine the feel of the jewelry against your skin…the coolness of the metal against the warmth of your body,jewelery conveys the sensualness that Manet saw as he painted his subject.

Jewelry is glamour.

Marlene Dietrich wore her cabochon emerald and diamond earrings and necklace in several of her films including "Shanghai Express." Zsa Zsa Gabor wore her own diamonds in several films including, "For the First Time." Barbra Streisand is known for her Art Deco jewelry collection. And the world associates Elizabeth Taylor With diamonds, especially for the diamond ring given to her by one of her famous husbands, appropriately Named the Taylor-Burton Diamond weighing in at 69.42 carats.


Jewelry is timeless.

Jewelry never goes out of style. While fashion is dictated by trends and is subject to the wear and tear of time and the gluttony of moths, jewelry lasts a lifetime. With proper care, jewelry survives many lifetimes.

Jewelry is royalty.

Throughout history, jewelry has been associated with royalty. Cleopatra was said to have worn her emeralds lavishly. Queen Elizabeth II indulges in her aquamarine necklace, bracelet, earrings and tiara, which she often wears for state occasions and diplomatic receptions. Katherine the Great owned one of the world's largest sapphires weighting in at 337 karats.


Jewelry is an heirloom treasure.

Your wedding ring is a treasure that will be worn for a lifetime, unlike your wedding dress, that will only be worn once. Even if you lovingly kept your wedding dress, hoping your daughter would one day wear it, chances are not very likely. By that time, the fabric may be discolored, moths may have dined, or the dress simply will no longer be fashionable. In contrast, your wedding ring will be worn every day, then handed down as a family heirloom, generation after generation, positive proof that jewelry stands the test of time.

Jewelry is a gift from nature.

Amazingly, precious metals, and gemstones were created much by accident as a result of heat and natural forces in the earth. Diamonds as old as 3 billion years are shaped by rock and molten lava. Sapphires are washed down into the alluvial deposits of riverbeds, bright blue colors marking their presence. The green color of emeralds, members of the beryl family which are often colorless minerals, is a result of minute traces of chromium found in the stones, and although these natural elements appear hard and rough around the edges when first excavated from the earth, with the assistance of man's artistry; cutting, polishing, heating and shaping, these gifts from nature are transformed into beautiful adornments.



When Cornell's was started in 1923, it was as a wholesaler. Today, even though our business is predominantly retail, we still maintain the philosophy of giving our customers quality "merchandise" with great value for the dollar along with the latest trends. David Cornell, president of Cornell's Jewelers and a member of the New York Diamond Dealers Club, is a very knowledgeable and skillful buyer. This power allows Cornell's to purchase at significant savings. Cornell's Jewelers passes these savings onto our customers, which has always been the company philosophy since Harry Cornell started the business in 1923. Operating under one roof, also allows Cornell's to run its business more efficiently. This is one more reason why shopping at Cornell's for jewelry should be your first and last stop.

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