Ray Crinzi stands with his family and staff at Ray Crinzi Jewelers in Staub Square. The business recently expanded, nearly doubling the store in size. Pictured from left are Crinzi, his grandson, Mike Baker; daughter, Lynette Baker; and son-in-law, Marty Baker.
Though he has been in the jewelry business for over 60 years, Ray Crinzi has never dreaded going to work.
“My first love is sitting at the bench and making and repairing jewelry,” Crinzi said. “Any time I am away from the bench I can’t wait to get back to it.”
While most people his age have long retired, at 82, Crinzi and his business continue to improve and grow through the years.
Located at 1 Buffalo St., Ray Crinzi Jewelry makes, sells and repairs jewelry. The store at Staub Square in the Village of Hamburg also buys old gold.
Though Ray Crinzi Jewelry specializes in engagement rings, it also sells earrings, bracelets, reflective beads and will soon carry a sterling silver line.
Particularly exciting for the business and its customers is the store’s recent expansion.
“I felt that when someone buys an expensive piece of jewelry, they like to have the feeling of buying it at a more elegant place than what I had,” said Crinzi. The renovations nearly doubled the store’s size, allowing space for lush carpeting, a new showcase and an additional workbench.
Though extremely talented at crafting and repairing jewelry by hand, Crinzi admits he never attended traditional schooling for his profession.
“My father was my school,” said Crinzi. His father, the late Alex Crinzi, was also a reputable jeweler. A native of Italy, Alex Crinzi learned his skills in his home country before immigrating to the U.S. in 1925.
“When I was a high school boy my father, who was a mastercraftsman in jewelry, insisted that I sit next to him at the bench and learn the business,” Crinzi said.
Yet young Crinzi was initially uninterested in pursuing the trade. “At the time I didn’t think it was a good idea, I’d rather shoot pool,” he said, laughing. “Today I am grateful that he did it.”
In turn, Crinzi passed down his knowledge to his daughter and is currently teaching his grandson, Mike Baker, the intricacies of the jewelry business.
“People tell me how lucky I am to be working with him,” said Mike, who believes he is learning from the best.
Passed down through four generations, the Crinzi name is proud to offer “over 100 years of knowledge and experience.”
Crinzi’s daughter and son-in-law, Lynette and Marty Baker, also have a hand in the business. The husband-and-wife team take care of gold and coin buying for the company.
“We offer home gold parties all over Western New York,” said Marty. During these events, people bring their old, unwanted jewelry to exchange for cash.
“It’s fun because they don’t have to buy anything, they’re making money,” said Lynette. However, Ray Crinzi Jewelers also holds combination parties with other jewelry lines such as Silpada or Premier Jewelry, so people can buy new jewelry after trading in their old items.
Lynette added that they also frequently hold gold buying parties as fundraisers for local schools and organizations such as Hospice and Women and Children’s Hospital.
“No matter where we’re at (for the home parties), we always run into people who recognize (the Ray Crinzi name),” said Marty.
Crinzi first went into business for himself in 1954. He and his brother, John, worked under his father’s name, Alex Crinzi Jewelers. For many years, the brothers worked out of the Ellicott Square Building in Buffalo.
After a short retirement, Crinzi opened Ray Crinzi Jewelers on Main Street in Hamburg in 2007. The business made the move to its current location in Staub Square two years ago.
Despite moving locations and changing names, Ray Crinzi has garnered a steady following.
“It is rewarding for me to see someone walk by and stop and ask me if I am the Ray Crinzi that worked in the Ellicott Square Building,” Crinzi said “After I tell them ‘yes,’ they extend their hand and say ‘you made my engagement ring 40 years ago.’”
While Crinzi enjoys making custom jewelry, he also carries extensive quality lines for a reasonable cost. With a small staff, Crinzi is able to keep his overhead low and prices affordable.
“He’s trustworthy,” said Lynette. “His reputation is a big reason why people come here.”
Ray Crinzi Jewelry is open six days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Accommodations may be made for appointments. For those who want to meet with Crinzi directly, he is usually at the store from 9 a.m. until noon.
For more information, call the store at 312-0043.