(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) – It is with great sadness that Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry announced the passing of its President and Co-Founder, Ernest Perry.
Often called the “Jeweler’s Jeweler,” Ernie was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, visionary and leader in the Charlotte community. He was an amazing philanthropist, and truly enjoyed donating his time, talent, and jewelry to many non-profit organizations throughout the Carolinas. His incredible generosity to the community, and to those around him, will be missed the most with his passing.
Ernie got his start in the jewelry business when he joined jewelry franchise, The Jewel Box, as the manager of the South Park Mall location in Charlotte. He met his wife of 45 years Priscilla in 1976. They were married two years later. That same year they established their own jewelry company, Perry’s Jewelry Emporium. In the early years of the business, Ernie and Priscilla held fundraisers for charity organizations where people could donate their jewelry. They opened a gold buying office on Independence Boulevard, and later opened a location in South Park Mall in 1981. Ernie and Priscilla built an amazing business over the years, that currently employs over 30 people. Daughters Hadley and Brittany joined the business alongside their parents in the mid-2000s. They moved the store to its current location on Carnegie Boulevard in 2012 and rebranded to Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry in 2018 as part of the business’ 40th anniversary celebration.
A licensed auctioneer, Ernie was well known in the Charlotte community for volunteering his time to non-profit organizations across the Carolinas for fundraising galas and events. It’s estimated that he has helped organizations like the Allegro Foundation, Second Harvest Food bank of Metrolina, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Patriot Military Family Foundation, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, raise $55 million over the last 45 years. With an average of $250,000 raised per event, it’s no wonder a Charlotte Observer reported dubbed Ernie, “Good as Gold.”
Ernie’s honesty and integrity in business, and his loyalty to those who worked for him, is of a type rarely seen in today’s world. Ernie valued the relationships he built with each and every one of his customers and vendors and impressed upon his staff the importance of treating everyone with respect, kindness, and dignity.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Ernie in August. Preparations are still being made currently. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to a charitable organization of their choosing in his memory.