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Our History Image

Since 1980

It all started with a passion for jewelry. While working as a special education teacher in Waterville, MN, Sally Nelson began selling jewelry out of an attaché case on her dining room table. She mostly sold gold fashion and engagement rings to acquaintances, but as word spread, more people came and sales increased. With $2,500 of her own money, Sally left her job and went bank to bank requesting a loan to open her own jewelry business. With interest rates at 21 percent, gold over $800 an ounce and women-owned businesses a rarity, she was turned down several times until one banker finally said ‘yes.’ In 1980, Exclusively Diamonds opened its doors on the fourth floor of the historic Matt J. Graif office building in downtown Mankato. It was the closest spot to the major retail district in the area during that time.


Expansions Through the Years

In the mid 80s, Sally’s daughters, Betsy and Sarah, joined their mother at the store. Betsy, a skilled craftsman, became an in-store goldsmith, which proved to be a strong asset to the business. Sarah took after her mother and began selling jewelry part-time. The early 90s brought big changes to the store. Betsy married and moved out of town and Sarah had two children who spent their first 10 months in the back of the store. Everyone pitched in by selling diamonds in the front and rocking and feeding the babies in the back. After hiring more sales staff to support the growing business, Sally decided in 1998 to retire from the business and sell the store to Sarah. As business continued to evolve and grow, Sarah decided to relocate the store to 1660 Tullamore Street, where the brand expanded and grew for almost 20 years.

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Our Mission Today

In the Fall of 2018 Sarah’s daughter, Maria, became vice president and co-owner. The store then expanded to the current location at 1601 Adams Street. Exclusively Diamonds is an American Gem Society member and rank in the top 5 percent of elite independent jewelers in the nation. We carry top designer brands including Rolex, Tudor, Roberto Coin, Simon G., and Shy Creation.

“Our mission is to be the jeweler of choice by building a legacy of integrity and trusted pricing in fine quality jewelry and uncompromising service. We want our guests to have a memorable, rewarding and legendary experience every time they visit our store. Our purpose is to serve our customers, our local and global economy and God."