GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Visitors flooded Taylormade Jewelers yesterday expressing condolences for the death of store owner Christopher Taylor, who died of a heart attack last weekend.
Taylor, 66, of Hawthorne, was as rare and cherished as the gems he sold, many said.
"Oftentimes he would give me a price estimate and when the piece came in, it was lower than the price he quoted me," longtime customer Loreen Lesso told Daily Voice.
Taylor, who opened the Rock Road store in April 1984, held a Masters Graduate Gemologist Appraiser degree — a rare combination of courses of gemological training — from the Gemological Institute of America.
Twice a year he visited Antwerp, Belgium, world-renowned for its diamonds, and offered the high quality stones at a competitive price, customers said.
"When his downtown neighbors would charge exorbitant prices he was always honest and fair; always pleasant," Dina Amalfitano said in a Facebook post. "So sorry to hear about his passing."
Walking into Taylormade was like "visiting a good neighbor" for Gilda DiMargo.
"Chris was such a giving man," longtime friend Patricia Zengel said. "He opened his doors to let fresh air in and would greet people on the sidewalk with a smile. You don’t see that anymore."
"Whenever my boys would need a link removed or added from/to a watchband, he would do it for free and always tell them: 'When you are ready for an engagement ring come see me','" borough resident Jerry Graziano wrote in a Facebook post.
Lesso and her husband both surprised one another on their 25th wedding anniversary with pieces they'd each bought from Taylormade Jewelers.
"He was more than a merchant," Lesso said. "He was our friend."
Taylor is survived by two children, Andrew and Valerie Taylor. Andrew said he planned to open the store on Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for anyone who would "like the chance to say a few words or say goodbye."
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