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Created an unimaginably distant time in the past, diamonds are the most coveted and valued of precious stones. The story of the discovery and destiny of the Cullinan diamond, to this day the largest gem-quality diamond ever found, is one to be marveled at, just like the staggering array of gems that were cut from it.
The 3106-carat Cullinan diamond, uncut (Cullinan Mine Archives
About one and a half billion years ago, Vulcan, the blacksmith of the gods, struck a spark on his anvil, deep in the bowels of a sleeping volcano in Southern Africa. The result was a spectacular display of fireworks, when the earth was blasted up a subterranean chimney and a fountain of rock gushed out twelve miles (twenty kilometers) up into the sky literally showering diamonds, embedded in kimberlite rock, down to earth.
The subterranean chimney shooting up earth and diamonds in an explosion. (Cullinan Tourism and Heritage Centre)
Less than one percent of volcanoes on earth, are diamond bearing. Under pressure of a volcanic heated explosion, carbon crystalized into diamonds, captured in kimberlite rock. Exposed to the elements of the weather, eroded by rain, wind and sun, the kimberlite crumbled and the diamonds were freed. Some washed into rivers and streams and found their way thousands of miles away to the west coast of Africa, but many lay untouched for millennia within the perimeter of the volcanic crater.
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The Great Trek
By 1836 many inhabitants of the Cape colony were fed-up with British rule and decided to hitch their ox-wagons, cross deserts, mountains and rivers to find the proverbial Canaan of Africa, where they could farm in peace and establish their own independent republics. The first family to arrive in the vicinity of the volcano, was the Minnaar family, who named their farm Elandsfontein, probably in honor of the multiple eland antelope species that still roamed these lands. Soon enough the Minnaar children were picking up alluvial diamonds in the vicinity of the erupted volcanic pipe.
They hitched their ox-wagons and trekked (Public Domain)
Minnaar’s eldest son was not cut out to be a farmer and in 1896 he sold the northern section of the farm to a man called Willem Prinsloo for £570. Now Prinsloo had previously owned a farm on the Witwatersrand, but soon gold was discovered in this area. From all over the world people swarmed to the Witwatersrand. The influx irritated Prinsloo terribly as they were invading his land. He sold up, trekked north and bought Elandsfontein, not knowing he had just bought one of the richest diamond fields in the world. Perhaps Prinsloo was an incarnation of King Midas and everything he touched turned into gold. All that glitters is not gold, and in this case, it was diamonds.
Thomas Cullinan had bought another farm in the vicinity, called Fransport. One day, Cullinan encountered a prospector called Percy Tracy, who bragged with a 3-carat blue-white diamond, he kept in his pocket. When Cullinan asked him where he got the diamond, Tracy told him about the farm Elandsfontein, but warned Cullinan about the feisty owner, who could not tolerate trespassers on his land. Despite the warning Cullinan sent an emissary to the farm. Tired and dusty he arrived at the farm house, expecting hospitality, but Zeus’ policy of filoxenia apparently did not apply to Prinsloo, for the emissary found himself staring down the barrel of a shotgun and Prinsloo threatening him not to even get off his horse. The emissary turned the horse around. As Prinsloo turned his back on his good fortune, Tyche the goddess of good fortune, turned her face from Prinsloo, and the third goddess of fate, Antropos, cut his life’s thread. Prinsloo crossed the Stix and joined Hades, shortly after he had chased Cullinan’s emissary from his land.
Statue of Sir Thomas Cullinan at Petra mine. (Image: Micki Pistorius)
War casts its dark shadow on the land
Gold was to be the curse of the independent farmers of the Boer republics. At the end of the nineteenth century, the gold on the Witwatersrand was the motivation for the British to annex the Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State and in 1899 the Anglo Boer War broke out. During the war, the British had a policy of scorched earth, where they set the farmsteads of the Boers alight and interred the women and children in concentration camps, to force the Boers to give up the fight. On 31 May 1902, the Peace of Vereeniging was signed.
The Minnaar and the Prinsloo families returned to their farms, but were devastated to find only burnt ruins, where their homes had once been. Tyche bestowed her favour to Thomas Cullinan, her new favourite. Cullinan returned to Elandsfontein, but this time he had a clever plan. He requested the Prinsloo’s to grant him permission to allow his cattle to graze on the land. They agreed. A short while later, he informed them that one of his cattle had died due to the dreaded anthrax disease and that he had to bury the animal. Fearing for their own stock, they agreed. Cullinan took his spade and began digging. It was no ditch for a dead animal and the favourite of the goddess of fortune soon found what he was looking for – the kimberlite source of diamonds.
He put in an offer to purchase the “farmland” for £5200 and on 1 December 1902 he registered the Premier (Transvaal) Diamond Mining Company. Operations commenced in 1903. In 1903 the remaining portion of the farm was sold to Premium Mine. Prinsloo would have turned in his grave, for soon a village and compound housing the miners, sprung up on his farm.
The little white cross at the top right hand, beneath the gabled house, indicates where the Cullinan diamond was embedded in the rock. ( Cullinan Tourism and History )
The diamond comes to light
Embedded in the edge of the crater, not far from the surface, laying somnolent for more than a billion years, was the biggest diamond the world had ever seen. A diamond destined to change history. One fine sunset on 25 January 1905, Mr Fred Wells, the pit manager was observing miners finishing their work for the day. Mining in those days consisted of miners using picks and shovels and hauling the soil by cocopan. As his eyes glided over the workings, a last ray of sunlight caught a rock and glittered. Wells took out his pocket knife and eagerly hacked at the rock. At last the diamond was finally freed from its rock casing. It was so big, Wells could not even wrap his hand around it. The diamond weighted 3106 carats (621 grams) and measured 4 by 2 ½ by 2 inches (10cm by 6.3 by 5 cm)
Fred Wells with the diamond (Image: John Lincoln)
An interesting fact is the source of the term carat. The seed in the pod of the Carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is the size of one carat. An average carob seed weighs about 3 1/3 grains, just over 200 milligrams. One carat is precisely 200 milligrams. Carob became carat in French.
Seeds of the Carob tree. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Mr William McHardy, the first general manager of the mine, informed Thomas Cullinan of the find. When Cullinan had bought the farm, he promised his wife he would one day give her the largest diamond in the world. However, Vulcan had bigger plans for his stone. In 1910, when Cullinan was knighted, he gave his wife a necklace with more than 200 diamonds including nine rare blue diamonds, to make up for it.
For almost two years, Cullinan could not sell the diamond. On the political front General Louis Botha became the prime minister of Transvaal and General Jan Smuts became the Colonial Secretary. Between them, they owned 40% of the Premier Transvaal Diamond Mine Company. They bought the diamond for £150 000 (around $750 000 at the time) and presented it to King Edward of England. Why would the defeated Boer generals give such a national treasure to the King of England? Because the conquered needed the goodwill of the victors to rebuild their country. It is rumoured that the diamond was mailed as a parcel.
Nine stones split from the original diamond
The King entrusted the rough diamond to be cut by the Asscher brothers of Amsterdam. Joseph Asscher fainted when we saw the size of the diamond. The diamond was cut into nine stones.
The nine major stones. Top: Cullinans II, I, and III. Bottom: Cullinans VIII, VI, IV, V, VII and IX.
The largest is a 520.0 carat pear shaped diamond, known as the Cullinan I diamond, or the Star of Africa and is set in the Imperial Sceptre and the second stone, the Cullinan II or Lesser Star of Africa at 317.4 carat, is set in the Imperial State Crown of Britain. Both are on display in the Tower of London.
The Cullinan I / Star of Africa, set in the Imperial Sceptre of Britain (Cullinan Mine Archives)
The remaining seven stones were given to the Asscher brothers as payment, however King Edward bought one back for his wife Queen Alexandra and the people of South Africa bought the other six in 1910, when South Africa became a Union, and presented them to Queen Mary.
Today the Star of Africa, delved from the dark depths of the African earth, sparkles its awesome wonder in the sceptre and crown of the British Queen Elizabeth II.
The official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II taken by Cecil Beaton after her coronation in 1953. She is wearing the Imperial Crown, with the Lesser Star of Africa. ( Cullinan Mine Archives )
The town of Cullinan retained its Victorian charm and the mine changed ownership. In 2008 it was sold by De Beers to Petra Mining. There is still 45 years of kimberlite left to mine.
The McHardy House Museum is one of many examples of Victorian houses in the picturesque town of Cullinan (Image: Micki Pistorius)
Pink diamonds: a modern history of one of the most valuable gems in the world
Their elusive nature and stratospheric prices make pink diamonds the most portable form of wealth on our planet. Find out why here.
Rare and awe inspiring, the pink diamond is one of the most valuable coloured diamonds in the world. Worth anywhere between 10 to 100 times more than an equivalent white, pink diamonds represent only 0.03% of the global annual production of diamonds.
Coloured diamonds, whether blue, yellow, orange or green, are more valuable than an equivalent white. But when it comes to pinks, they are so exceptional that you could fit into the palm of your hand an entire year's yield of premium-quality pink diamonds. And that makes them the most portable form of wealth on our planet.
So few and far between are top-quality pink diamonds that to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee in 2012, the Argyle Pink Diamonds company held an exhibition in London, for one day only. Calling on jewellers and collectors from around the world, it provided a sight unlikely to be witnessed again in our lifetimes. The 42 gems, valued at around £40 million, represented the greatest coming together in one place of pink diamonds. Experts from around the world were awestruck at the sight of so many of these rare stones under one roof.
The desirability of pink diamonds is reflected in the spiralling prices they achieve in auction rooms around the world. The record for the highest price paid per carat for a pink diamond was set at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on 7 October 2014 when a 8.41 carat Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink Internally Flawless sold for US$17,768,041or $2,112,727 per carat. The unusual shade of purple-tinged pink made this diamond highly covetable. What's more, it has been graded by the Gemological Institute of America as Internally Flawless, which is very unusual for a coloured diamond.This level of purity is normally only found in white diamonds. De Beers cut the stone from a 19.54 carat rough and maximised the intensity of colour of the final cut.
This stunning pink diamond broke the previous record for the highest price paid per carat for a pink diamond, which was held by the 5.00 carat Fancy Vivid Pink that sold in 2009 for US$10 million, or $2 million per carat. The record overall price paid for a pink diamond belongs to what is now known as the "Graff Pink", which was bought by jeweller Laurence Graff at Sotheby's auction in November 2010. The jaw-droppingly large 24.78 carat Fancy Intense emerald-cut pink diamond sold for US$46.2 million, or just over $1.6 million per carat.
Read about Sotheby's Unique Pink diamond
And it seems that for pink diamonds, it is record breaker after record breaker. In 2012,Christie's in New York sold a 9.00 carat pink diamond ring from the turn-of-the-century from the estate of Huguette M. Clark for $15.7 million, making it the most valuable pink diamond ever sold at auction in America.
So when the world's wealthiest seek out something to truly set them apart, a pink diamond is the gemstone of choice. From Queen Elizabeth to the Sultan of Brunei and Hollywood stars, they are all drawn to the allure of the pink diamond. Jennifer Lopez's 6.00 carat pink diamond engagement ring from Ben Affleck is reported to have set him back a cool $1.2 million. Tennis player Anna Kournikova's pink diamond engagement ring, with a pear-cut centre stone from the Argyle Mine, has an estimated value of over $2.5 million.
Curiously, pink diamonds are always referred to as "she" and historically the Darya-I-Noor - Sea of Light - of the Iranian Crown Jewels is the largest pink diamond in the world. She is followed by the Noor-ol-Ain - Eye of Light - weighing 60.00 carats, believed to have come from the now depleted ancient and famed Golconda mines in India. Harry Winston was commissioned to set it into the Empress Farah's of Iran's wedding tiara in 1959. In 1999, a pink diamond was discovered by De Beers in South Africa weighing 132.5 carat in the rough. Cut by De Beers and sold to Steinmetz, who renamed it the Steinmetz Pink, the 59.60 carat oval-cut pink diamond is both internally flawless and a much-prized Fancy Vivid Pink colour.
Queen Elizabeth II, one of the greatest jewellery collectors and lover of diamonds, owns the Williamson pink diamond brooch, which she can often be seen wearing at State functions. The 23.60 carat pink diamond at the centre of the brooch is believed to be one of the finest ever discovered. The stone was found in 1947 at the Mwadui mine in Tanganyika, Africa. The owner of the mine, Dr John Thorburn Williamson, gave it to Princess Elizabeth for her wedding and, in 1953, Cartier in London set the diamond into a flower-shaped brooch.
The increasing rarity of pink diamonds only adds to their allure. So much so that only about 50 or 60 top-quality stones come on to the market every year. But don't expect to see conker-sized pinks - most are no bigger than a pea. If that does sound disappointingly small, when a single carat can fetch almost a million pounds, it is clear anything over one carat is exceptional.
Of course, smaller, lesser-quality pinks in lighter tones exist in greater numbers, but they are still many times more valuable than your average white. The reason there are few large top-quality pink diamonds is likely due to the force of the subterranean volcanic explosions that forced the diamonds nearer to the Earth's surface and shattered many on the way. A top-quality pink diamond is desirable a large top-quality pink diamond of over 2.00 carats is exponentially more so.
As with all coloured diamonds, tone and saturation is everything. Colours vary from candyfloss pink to rich cherry jam hues. Vivid hues are right at the end of the colour spectrum of pink tones and are the most expensive.The rule of thumb is, the more intense the colour, the more valuable the stone. The most intense are rated as "Fancy Vivid", culminating in the highly valuable red diamond, which is rarer still than the pinks.
The three most important factors determining the colour and therefore the value of a pink diamond are the hue - which is the dominant colour of the diamond - the tone - the amount of light or darkness in the stone - and the saturation - the intensity of the hue. If a pink diamond achieves a top grading in all three categories the result is exceptional, even if the stone is no bigger than a drop of water. Japan is the strongest market for pink diamonds, where the lighter "cherry blossom" shades are favoured.
But how did pink diamonds come about? Josephine Johnson, Manager of Argyle Pink Diamonds, tells us: "We know pink diamonds are 1.6 billion years old, but we are not sure how they came to have their colour. What we do know is that all diamonds are produced under great pressure and pink diamonds even more so.This is caused by a slight twist in the crystal lattice, which makes the light refract through the diamond, and it comes out in the far end of the colour spectrum in colours such as pinks and reds."
Until the Argyle Diamond Mine in the remote region Western Australia was discovered in the late 1970s and started yielding pink diamonds, they were such an oddity that they were the territory of wealthy collectors of curios. This rare geological freak of nature was randomly found in Brazil, Russia and India and was more likely to be seen in an exhibition of minerals in a museum than gracing a pair of earrings. Jewellers were not entirely sure of their value so were hesitant about investing in them. What's more, it was difficult to find matching stones to make anything other than a solitaire ring, and a pink diamond was more likely to be hidden away in a bank vault than appear on the finger of a diva.
But the discovery of the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia changed the course of the history of pink diamonds. After prospecting in the Barramundi Gap in Northwestern Australia, two very determined geologists spotted a diamond shimmering in an anthill. The industrious ants had been digging up diamonds and had quite literally brought them to light. The Aboriginals had been aware of their presence and believed that the colours of the diamonds come from the scale of the barramundi fish, with pink diamonds coming from the heart.
The geologists scrambled to keep the location of their find secret while they mobilised forces to secure the area. When the first yield of pink diamonds came out of the mine, for the first time in history, a consistent, if very small, supply of pink diamonds wasa possibility.
The discovery of the Argyle Mine unleashed "pink mania". The first all-pink diamond jewellery to be sold on the open market was the Esmerian bow necklace, made by coloured gem specialist and jeweller Ralph Esmerian. The necklace contains hundreds of perfectly matched Argyle pink diamonds suspended around a 5.57 carat pink. When sold by a collector at Christie's in May 1992 it caused a frenzy of bidding, eventually selling for $1.8 million to a mystery buyer, and the marketplace changed radically. Pink diamonds were suddenly hot property and the demand for them has not slowed down since.
Although pink diamonds appear sporadically in mines in Brazil, Russia and India, the occurrence of them is nowhere on the scale or the colour saturation of those found in the Argyle Mine. This one mine supplies 90% of the world's pink diamonds. And Argyle's special stones get a royal treatment. Each year, Rio Tinto, the mining company that owns the mine, invites a select few jewellers and dealers to bid for the top 1% of its offerings at the annual Argyle Pink Diamond Tender. Selected diamond dealers and jewellers, under high-security measures, are invited to inspect the stones at locations around the world. So strict is security that the locations are revealed at the last minute.
The stones, the size of drops of red syrup, sit in little white plastic boxes with Perspex lids. The buyers are allowed nothing more than a loupe with which to view the diamonds and make their bid in a sealed envelope. Prices per carat of these pick-of-the-crop stones hover around $1 million per carat and none are left unsold. Adding to the frenzy for pinks is the fact that the Argyle mine is expected to be depleted in the next decade.So between now and then there will only be another 500 or so top-quality stones sold at tender to come out of this mine.
Mining pink diamonds is an expensive business. For every million carats of rough diamonds produced at the Argyle Mine, less than 1.00 carat will make it to tender. Or to put it more visually, it takes seven pickup trucks of diamonds to produce one ashtray full of pinks.
Paul King, property investor and collector of coloured diamonds, in particular pinks, considers high-quality pink diamonds both a good investment as well as a beautiful stone to own. "Unlike stocks and shares, they are tangible and you can also enjoy wearing them. And once the Argyle mine dries up, 90% of the world's supply of pink diamonds will disappear. It is inevitable that they will increase in value, but by how much, no one can say." In the meantime, everyone who is lucky enough to own a quality pink diamond can enjoy its exceptionally pretty colour and know that on their finger sits a very rare and precious creation that originated from the very centre of the earth.
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The glinting black stone is the second largest rough gem diamond in recorded history, second only to the Cullinan - a 3,106-carat gem mined in South Africa in 1905.
That makes the Sewelo, estimated to be two billion years old, the largest diamond discovered in this century.
Louis Vuitton's purchase of this historic find has been dubbed by many as a bold move for the luxury house, which is better known for its handbags and heritage trunks.
The LVMH-owned brand entered high jewellery only in 2012, with an atelier in the esteemed Place Vendome in Paris.
It is not known exactly how many millions the French fashion house paid for the stone.
Asked why the Sewelo would be the stone to propel Vuitton's high jewellery efforts, chairman and chief executive of Louis Vuitton Michael Burke said in an e-mail interview: "This rough stone is unique. Unveiling it to a handful of clients is a testament to our daring spirit and our desire to be a major player in jewellery."
He added: "We're positioning ourselves for the next 100 years."
Available for viewing by appointment only, its stop in Singapore at the Louis Vuitton Island Maison at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is its only one in South-east Asia.
Inside the store, the Sewelo takes centre stage, mounted on a miniature trunk in a dark exhibit. No barricades have been set up around it, allowing clients to get up close and personal with the stone.
Showcasing the diamond in its rawest form - its thin black carbon coating untouched - was significant, said Mr Burke.
"The idea is not to bypass the traditional network (of jewellery), but to make the chain more transparent by showing Sewelo's origin."
While the house declined to comment on its exact plans for the rare stone, it is expected to be custom-cut into diamonds and turned into bespoke pieces once Vuitton finds a buyer.
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Vuitton's diamond as big as a tennis ball steals the show in Paris
Unique to the brand is its ability to cut diamonds in the signet of Louis Vuitton's iconic Monogram - the LV Flower Cut, a rounded flower and the LV Star Cut, a star-shaped motif.
Louis Vuitton is currently working closely with Antwerp-based diamond cutters HB Company to study and plan the optimal yield of the stone - which is estimated to vary from one oval diamond of 900 carats to one diamond of 300 carats, with multiple satellites of three to five carats.
The possibilities are endless. The Cullinan produced stones of various cuts and sizes, with the two largest currently mounted in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
The Sewelo showcase reiterates Louis Vuitton's ambition to be a player in the high jewellery field, competing with the likes of Cartier.
Industry pundits also believe this is another move by parent company LVMH - which already owns Bvlgari and paid US$16.2 billion (S$22.2 billion) to acquire Tiffany's last November - to stake a big claim in the high jewellery sector.
Mr Burke said: "We are trunk makers, not jewellers. Even if we recruited new talent and put all our efforts into this new field, we wouldn't want to proceed as the others - it would make no sense.
"We have to be audacious and brave this stone is the proof of this. No jeweller on Place Vendome would ever dare to take the same risk."
• Clients interested in viewing the Sewelo diamond can contact Louis Vuitton Client Services by telephone at 6788-3888.
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Retailers, Supply and Demand For Diamonds
This group is even more fragmented than the manufacturers. There's roughly 250,000 jewelry retailers worldwide, most of them locally owned and operated.
In the past, diamond sales were done largely through specialized stores. Some were famous: Tiffany, Zale , Kay Jewelers. Most are not.
Today, independent jewelry stores are declining. Department stores like Macy's , JC Penney , and Neiman Marcus, as well as discounters like Wal-Mart , Costco and Target , have become a bigger part of jewelry sales. (Read More: Tips to Finding the Perfect Diamond Ring.)
Internet sales have also grown and have been a big help introducing more transparent pricing.
Of the 133 million carats produced, only half went toward jewelry. The rest went to lower-end industrial production, where diamonds are used for cutting, grinding and polishing, usually other diamonds. But they are the smallest, lowest value stones. The majority of diamonds for industrial use are now synthetically made.
It's the jewelry business that generates the money it represents about 95 percent of the value of production.
Like gold , the diamond industry has had high expectations for diamond demand, primarily due to the huge emerging middle class in India, China, and Latin America. Sales have indeed increased dramatically in those regions.
This would indicate that prices for diamonds should be steady to slightly higher. Prices for bigger, higher-quality diamonds have indeed risen, but prices for smaller, more commercial stones have remained relatively flat or increased only modestly.
Demand is dictated by macroeconomic trends, or simply put, the state of the consumer. Prices are affected by economic booms and by recessions, like those in 2001 and 2008-2009. While prices did drop during the last global recession in 2008-2009, rough and polished diamond prices increased again in 2010 and 2011.
Because diamonds are a luxury item, demand growth is expected to parallel GDP growth. Slower GDP growth, which is now the expectation for the next couple years, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, is a problem for the diamond industry. (Read More: Diamonds Are a Great Way to Diversify - Expert.)
That's also true for emerging market countries like India and China. And currency fluctuations are also an issue. The declining value of the Indian rupee, for example, is a major reason why diamond sales in that country declined in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year. (Read More: Diamond Prices Soar on Asian Demand.)
What's hot in diamonds right now? Big ones. The biggest increase in pricing has been for larger stones of two carats and above. For example, between 2006 and 2010, prices for a polished one-carat diamond went up 5 percent a year, but prices for a three-carat diamond went up 10 percent, while prices for a five-carat diamond increased 17 percent.
This includes production levels and sales of stockpiles of diamonds. For example, when Russia and Australia brought large mines onto the market in the 1980s, supplies increased and prices dropped.
On the supply side, the diamond industry has a problem similar to the gold business — known reserves are declining, costs are going up, and grades are lower.
Historically, De Beers controlled diamond prices for decades because it had an effective monopoly on global production. But De Beers sold much of its inventory from 2002 to 2007 and no longer has such a strong grip on the market.
Another aspect that might affect diamond pricing in the future: improved acceptance of synthetic gem quality diamonds. Synthetic diamonds have been made for decades but are still largely confined to industrial uses. Prices would have to come down and consumers would have to accept the "value proposition" of synthetic diamonds. To date, none of that has happened.
Finally, there's one other issue that might affect diamond demand: the creation of an investible market for diamonds. (Read More: Investing in Diamonds: Should They Be Traded Like Gold? )
Ozark Hills, Missouri
Jon Manjeot / Shutterstock
A lucrative copper mine was once operating near the Current River in Missouri’s Ozark Hills. In the mid-18th century, the mine’s owner, Joseph Slater, would allegedly float large amounts of high-grade copper down to New Orleans. In an effort to keep the location of his mine secret, he filed a claim for the mine several miles from where it actually was. This means that the location of one of the country’s most profitable copper mines was never known to anyone but Slater and his daughter.
Slater moved away with intentions of returning to the mine one day, but he died before he could do so. It's said that he and his daughter carefully covered its entrance so that no one would be able to find it before they returned, but treasure hunters and curiosity seekers have been scouring the area for almost a century to no avail. Thus, it's been dubbed the Lost Copper Mine.
Where's the Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring ?
Buying an engagement ring is a big decision and not just because of the cost. Whether you're looking for value, a huge selection, or sheer luxury, here's a list of the best places to shop for a diamond.
Emotions and expectations play a big part in finding the perfect engagement ring. After all, a ring is an heirloom that will last for generations.
So how can you buy the right engagement ring for your significant other?
First, you need to know where to shop.
We'll take a look at the top online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Find out how online jewelers like Blue Nile, James Allen, and Whiteflash compare to Costco and Tiffany & Co.
|Jeweler||CreditDonkey Rating||Learn More|
|Blue Nile||Visit site|
|Tiffany & Co.||Visit site|
|James Allen||Visit site|
Bottom Line: When you buy an engagement ring, you will have it forever. She'll wear it every day for the rest of her life.
If you're a newbie who knows nothing about diamonds, check out James Allen. They have close-up views of their inventory and every diamond is certified so you can expect quality for your budget. You can also chat 24/7 with jewelry experts for any questions.
For simplicity's sake, we evaluated each retailer using three core criteria:
- Pricing Value: The same ring can cost wildly different amounts depending on where you buy it. Knowing you're getting the best value for your purchase is key.
For best pricing: go with James Allen ()
Before you begin, there's something you need to know as a prospective buyer. Diamonds are universally measured using the 4Cs: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat weight.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society) uses this rating system so buyers can compare diamonds from any retailer on an apples-to-apples basis.
Without GIA or AGS certification, you have no way of knowing the exact quality of the diamond—unless you happen to be a gemologist.
Tip: Our engagement ring guide offers a great overview of the basics of diamond shopping. Check it out BEFORE you start your search.
Now that you know the criteria, read on to see how these leading diamond retailers stack up.
Engagement Ring Selection: Blue Nile
|Pricing Value||Well priced against competitors|
|Selection||200,000+ loose diamonds, 500+ settings|
|Customer Experience||24/7 live chat & phone support Easy return process|
Blue Nile, one of the largest Internet diamond retailer on the market, is known for historically low prices and a vast selection of products.
What We Like
Blue Nile offers diamonds and engagement rings at very competitive prices. Blue Nile has exclusive contracts with diamond wholesalers all over the world, so it has a wide selection of loose diamonds.
It's good if you want to design your own engagement ring. You can pick your own diamond and setting to create a custom ring.
Some special features include:
- Designer rings from Monique Lhuillier, Zac Posen, Bella Vaughan, and more
- Astor by Blue Nile collection of premium diamonds
- A selection of ready-to-ship rings
- Browse recently purchased rings for inspiration
Most diamonds come with a magnified 360-degree video. You can "see" the diamond so you don't have to worry about purchasing blind. All diamonds are certified by GIA, which is the most reputable lab in the world. Blue Nile supports the Kimberley process and their diamonds are warranted to be conflict free.
Blue Nile also has excellent after-purchase policies. It offers 30-day full refund returns, one free resizing, and lifetime warranty.
Not everyone is comfortable with buying such an important purchase online. Blue Nile does try to make it easier with its 24/7 live chat service and education center.
While Blue Nile is still one of the most affordable jewelers, unfortunately, its significant growth has brought with it increased overhead. The exceptional value it once offered can now be beaten by some smaller, nimbler online retailers.
Another downside is that some setting styles aren't offered. For example, you may be out of luck if you're looking for a bezel or tension ring. It also doesn't have as many choices for yellow gold or rose gold rings.
Who Should Buy from Blue Nile
Blue Nile is great if you just want to shop for the ring on your own time without pressure. You can get a high-quality diamond for a lot less than traditional brick-and-mortar jewelry stores.
20% off on over 700 rings
Best Engagement Ring Value: Costco
|Pricing Value||Competitively priced, comparable to online retailers|
|Selection||Limited in-store selection, larger online offering|
|Customer Experience||Great return policy, no servicing, lacks knowledgeable staff|
Costco is the definitive wholesale retailer. With 635 locations in nine countries, the retail giant has formed a reputation over the years for exceptional pricing, a generous return policy, and exemplary customer service.
What We Like
Costco combines the pricing of an Internet retailer with the benefits of an in-store experience. Customers get deep discounts and can view the diamond in person.
How good is the value? In a test performed by Good Morning America, the list price of a Costco diamond was undervalued by 17%. The list price of a Tiffany diamond was found to be overpriced by 58%.
Costco also has one of the best return policies around. You can get a refund within 30 days for any reason and have the cash in hand (whereas with Blue Nile, you have to mail the unwanted jewelry back and wait.)
Not all Costco diamond rings are certified by GIA. Some diamonds are graded by Costco's gemologist and don't even come with a report. If you really care about properly certified diamonds, you'll want to avoid those.
For the higher-end buyer, Costco offers neither the presentation nor long-term servicing of a Tiffany engagement ring. It doesn't offer resizing services either, which can make finding the right ring difficult.
On the customer service end of the spectrum, the view is generally positive. However, since Costco isn't a dedicated jewelry retailer, store staff members lack the specialized knowledge many jewelry shoppers depend on.
Who Should Buy From Costco
If you want a fantastic-looking engagement ring for a great value, it's hard to beat Costco. Unless you're going the DIY route or want the prestige of a famous diamond brand, Costco will give you the best ready-to-propose engagement ring for your money.
Looking to surprise your partner with more of a WOW factor? Read on for a review of the world famous Tiffany's.
Best Customer Experience: Tiffany & Co.
|Pricing Value||Highly quality and high prices|
|Selection||Large in-store selection, limited online availability|
|Customer Experience||Excellent presentation, ring service, and customer care|
Tiffany & Co. is the preeminent American diamond company. Since creating the "Tiffany engagement ring" in 1886, the company has become a household name, known for top quality, top price, and top service.
What We Like
Tiffany & Co. is the Lamborghini of engagement ring retailers. Presenting your ring in a little blue box carries a level of prestige that other jewelry stores can't match.
Every aspect of the Tiffany experience is intentionally top of the line, from the carpets in stores to the ribbon on the box. You never have to worry about getting an inferior product with Tiffany. But if you do, their legendary customer service will make it right.
All of Tiffany's diamonds have already been pre-screened for quality, so you don't need to worry about getting a bad one.
As with a luxury car, you pay a tremendous premium simply for the brand name. You can find similar diamonds for much cheaper with other retailers.
For example, a 1.01-carat, I, VS2 diamond in the classic Tiffany setting costs $14,000. A same quality diamond on Blue Nile plus a similar platinum setting costs $5,817. Less than half the price.
But Tiffany's price isn't just solely for the ring. You're also buying the experience, the first-class customer treatment, and the prestige of being a Tiffany bride.
Who Should Buy From Tiffany & Co.
If you need to own the branded best and can afford it, Tiffany engagement rings are hard to beat. For everyone else, there are better options for similar quality diamonds at lower prices.
The best diamond deals are often found online. Find out why below.
Best Online Diamond Sites
In recent years, it has become more popular to buy an engagement ring online. Online jewelers offer competitive pricing along with large selections. And plus, you can shop from the comfort of your home without pressure.
Read on for the best place to buy engagement rings online. Many jewelers have carved specific niches, so there's a right site for everyone no matter what you're looking for.
Where to get a nice engagement ring for cheap?Select your state to get started
- Best overall online retailer: James Allen
- Good diamond and jewelry selection: Blue Nile
- Best for high quality diamonds: Whiteflash
- Best for in-store try on: Ritani
- Best for ethical diamonds: Brilliant Earth
- Best for fancy color diamonds: Leibish & Co.
- Best for super ideal diamonds: Brian Gavin
- Best for lab created diamonds: Clean Origin
Best Online Diamond Retailer Experience: James Allen
|Pricing Value||Very competitively priced|
|Selection||Huge selection of diamonds, gemstones, and settings|
|Customer Experience||Free online expert consultation 24/7 support|
James Allen has revolutionized online diamond shopping by providing HD 360-degree videos for every single rock in its inventory. The knowledgeable staff is available to chat 24/7 and even offers Real-Time Diamond Consultation.
What We Like
James Allen's Diamond Display Technology can't be beat. For every diamond in their inventory, they offer HD video. You can spin the diamond around and zoom in or out.
This feature is crucial to search for visible flaws, cloudiness, or dark spots. James Allen's HD video is as good as (and perhaps even better) than seeing a diamond in person. One helpful tool is the Inspiration Gallery.
James Allen has a wide range of options, no matter what you're looking for. You can also find:
- Lab created diamonds
- A large collection of naturally colored diamonds
- Sapphires, emeralds, and ruby gemstones
- True Hearts collection of premium-cut diamonds
- Designer rings by Verragio, Danhov, and more
You can also get a Real-Time Diamond Consultation so a staff member can explain the images to you and help you decide.
James Allen is also a fantastic place to buy fancy shaped diamonds (shapes other than round). It has a superb collection of other shapes - larger than a lot of other online retailers. It also carries fancy colored diamonds and gemstones.
James Allen offers free shipping, 30-day returns for a full refund, lifetime warranty, and 100% lifetime upgrade.
There is little downside to shopping at James Allen. If you're specifically looking for a super ideal cut diamond (or True Heart diamond), your choices will be limited. Consider browsing Whiteflash (more on them in a moment).
Who Should Buy from James Allen
James Allen has created a brand for the everyman with affordable pricing, good selection to suit every taste, and great customer service.
Most importantly, you can feel confident in your purchase with James Allen because you can see the actual stone you're buying.
Search for Diamonds
Shop for diamonds at James Allen, a CreditDonkey #1 recommended partner for the best online experience.
Related: James Allen vs Blue Nile: Read this comparison to learn more about the differences between these two online retailers.
Best Online Retailer for Ideal Cut Diamonds: Whiteflash
|Pricing Value||High quality, pricier than other online retailers|
|Selection||Smaller in-house selection larger virtual selection|
|Customer Experience||Exceptional data for each diamond|
86% of women say that a diamond's quality is more important than the size  . For the best quality, look to Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE® diamonds.
Whiteflash's grading standard is extremely stringent. To qualify for the A CUT ABOVE® line, a diamond must perfect ratings in light performance, symmetry, and polish. These diamonds truly represent the best of the best.
What We Like
Whiteflash provides an exceptional amount of data for all their in-house diamonds. Along with an actual photo, you also get a Idealsope image and ASET image (both of which show light performance) as well as hearts and arrows patterning (which shows symmetry).
You can also view an HD video showing the fire and scintillation (in laymen's terms, how sparky the rock is). All this data takes the guesswork out of your purchase so you can shop with confidence.
Whiteflash also offers an expert selection of diamonds that didn't quite make it into the A CUT ABOVE® line. Since their requirements are so strict, these diamonds often have tiny flaws that the human eye can't even see. Here is where you can find a great balance of quality and price.
Whiteflash offers 30-day returns for a full refund, one-year buyback (for 70% of purchase price), one-year service plan, and 100% lifetime upgrade for their in-house diamonds.
Whiteflash's in-house inventory consists of round and princess cut diamonds only. They have a virtual inventory with the other shapes, but you don't see the actual photos or detailed data upfront.
If you do purchase a diamond from the virtual inventory, it will be brought in for evaluation and the results will be presented to you.
Another drawback is that Whiteflash only offers a 90-day 0% APR financing option for online purchases (6 months for in-store). So make sure you have the budget to pay in full or have another plan to finance your ring.
Who Should Buy from Whiteflash
Whiteflash is for those who value quality and understand the importance of cut. If you want a diamond with the brightest sparkle--and have the budget for it--you'll be hard pressed to find a rock more perfect than Whiteflash's A CUT ABOVE® diamonds.
Reader Commentary & Questions
Microblog: Greatest Speculative Bubble Of All Time - Michael J. Burry
Few days ago, he tweeted: “People always ask me what is going on in the markets. It is simple. Greatest Speculative Bubble of All Time in All Things. By two orders of magnitude. #FlyingPigs360” We all know he is shorting Tesla… Elon tweeted Tesla has diamond hands… It would be interesting having Travis analysis on [. ]
Microblog: Jeff Brown's tease S.A.V company making Sensors for Tesla. Can't Find the company.
Microblog: What is the Forever Memory stock being pitched by Alex Koyfman
Alex Koyfman of Microcap Insider is pitching an Arizona company that is producing what he calls the Forever Memory chip. Stock is trading around the $7 range, and is touted as critical to the 5G network going forward. Also mentioned the FCCC has instituted Fast 5G and on 12/5/21 the C-band becomes available where before [. ]
Microblog: What is this tease?
Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, and the Rockefellers are betting a colossal nine figures on: The #1 Stock of This Generation Investors who get in on this tiny $5 stock… Stand to transform every $500 invested into $1.5 million.
Microblog: The #1 SPAC to Buy Right Now
“Right now there is a very short window of opportunity to buy into a future giant while it’s still private,” Tilson says. “It could be gone in a matter of days.” https://monivation.com/pages/hedge-fund-legend-says-buy-this-spac-now?cid=MKT541025&eid=MKT547154&fbclid=PAAaY8vLSpLkZXCm_hoKf5-0n5g67uw_9apNaVVRqaU0RQu6tbgDjI6eE63lU_aem_Aa1VE-aLpP17_U86tzx2PH8X5wsoJCNHSqhlcnq_Ub5Hafa5ntKIH5TEZF62RSHsCZywlZIEf7UjE-CNjKPRCsCFBN1WxXg7HKpSoUlrlHrXxemFalb26Uv3A1L0Jka9gKdhgqSfHhTFuZZpxi5SYqcV
Microblog: Curzio's Latest Venture Tease
Does anybody own this product? He is doing a promotion right now and is teasing a “FANG MAKING” tech stock. Just thought I’d reach out and see how his portfolio is doing. His crypto portfolio has done amazingly well.
Connect with Travis
Basic Rules: The Three Steps to Buying a Diamond
Below we will be getting into the nitty gritty details that determine the price of a specific diamond. Its important to understand this so that you can determine what is important for you when making this purchase. Take a look at this beautiful 1.00ct G VS1 diamond and compare it to this 1.02ct E VVS2 diamond . Can you see any difference between the two? I can’t. But I can see a $1,600 difference in price (20%).
Lately we have been seeing interest on this topic from readers considering Lab Created Diamonds. While we are outright fans of LCDs, we do have an article discuss this topic and how it pertains specifically to lab created diamonds. In this article, we discuss the issues we have with LCDs as well as advice on how to get the best LCD diamond if you decide to go that route. The basic question is are you willing to sacrifice long-term value for short term bang for your buck? If you do decide to go for a lab created diamond, we recommend James Allen.
When discussing pricing and what is a fair deal, you have to know what you want and how to be sure you are getting what you are paying for. You need to make sure you are following the process to ensure you aren’t getting scammed. It’s hard figuring out how much you should spend on a diamond . It’s just as hard figuring out how to get the best bang for your buck.
1) Certification – This is the most important step. It is an absolute must if you are spending more than $1,000 on a diamond. The purpose of buying a diamond with a certificate is to have peace of mind that you are getting what they claim. The only certificates that provide that are from the GIA and AGS laboratories. They are the gold standards for the diamond industry.
2) Quality – Now that we know which certificates to use, we need to understand all the qualities listed on the certificate and what we should do with that information. You may have heard of the four Cs of diamonds and we have articles on each of them: Color , Clarity , Cut and Carat .
I will use color as an example. If you decide to go with an elegant solitaire setting like this one or this one, you can focus on J+ to maximize value. But if you are going for a more elaborate halo setting like this one, you will need to stick with H+.
I understand that this gets a bit confusing trying to balance the different diamond proportion and qualities. If you prefer more personal help guiding you through the qualities, feel free to contact us.
3) Pricing – We get into the deep background below, but the easiest way to figure out the price is the same way you do with anything else. Shop around. Blue Nile and James Allen are the industry leaders when it comes to diamonds (like Amazon is for many products). A store will always be more expensive than what you can find online, but figure out the right baseline and then you can decide if its worth paying premium “X” for the added value you feel you are getting from the store.
For example, we reviewed Shane Co and were offered a 1.01ct I VS2 cushion cut for $6,477. Firstly, had you gone through our education on quality, you would know that this was an undesirable diamond (cut a little too deep and better to avoid “I” color in cushion cuts. Next, we can do a quick price compare. Here is a superior diamond from James Allen (better cut, higher clarity) for $2,800 and a similar diamond from Blue Nile that is an even better deal coming in at $2,779.
You don’t need me to tell you that the Shane Co diamond is horrifically priced.
Chan was born on 7 April 1954 in Hong Kong as Chan Kong-sang (Chinese: 陳港生 lit. 'born in Hong Kong'  ) to Charles and Lee-Lee Chan, refugees from the Chinese Civil War. His parents were so poor they had to borrow money from friends to pay the doctor.  His parents nicknamed him Pao-pao (Chinese: 炮炮 lit. 'Cannonball') because the energetic child was always rolling around.  His parents worked for the French ambassador in Hong Kong, and Chan spent his formative years within the grounds of the consul's residence in the Victoria Peak district. 
Chan attended the Nah-Hwa Primary School on Hong Kong Island, where he failed his first year, after which his parents withdrew him from the school. In 1960, his father emigrated to Canberra, Australia to work as the head cook for the American embassy, and Chan was sent to the China Drama Academy, a Peking Opera School run by Master Yu Jim-yuen.   Chan trained rigorously for the next decade, excelling in martial arts and acrobatics.  He eventually became part of the Seven Little Fortunes, a performance group made up of the school's best students, gaining the stage name Yuen Lo ( 元樓 ) in homage to his master. Chan became close friends with fellow group members Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, and the three of them later became known as the Three Brothers or Three Dragons.  After entering the film industry, Chan along with Sammo Hung got the opportunity to train in hapkido under the grand master Jin Pal Kim, and Chan eventually attained a black belt. 
Chan joined his parents in Canberra, Australia in 1976, where he briefly attended Dickson College and worked as a construction worker.  A fellow builder named Jack took Chan under his wing, thus earning Chan the nickname of "Little Jack," later shortened to "Jackie", which has stuck with him ever since.  In the late 1990s, Chan changed his Chinese name to Fong Si-lung ( 房仕龍 ), since his father's original surname was Fong. 
1962–1975: Early small appearances
He began his film career by appearing in small roles at the age of five as a child actor. At age eight, he appeared with some of his fellow "Little Fortunes" in the film Big and Little Wong Tin Bar (1962) with Li Li-Hua playing his mother. The following year, the young actor appeared in extras of The Love Eterne (1963) and had a small role in King Hu's 1966 film Come Drink with Me.  In 1971, after an appearance as an extra in another kung fu film, A Touch of Zen, Chan was signed to Chu Mu's Great Earth Film Company. 
1976–1980: Start-up leading roles
In 1976, Jackie Chan received a telegram from Willie Chan, a film producer in the Hong Kong film industry who had been impressed with Jackie's stunt choreography work. Willie Chan offered him an acting role in a film directed by Lo Wei. Lo saw Chan's performance in the John Woo film Hand of Death (1976) and planned to model him after Bruce Lee with the film New Fist of Fury.  His stage name was changed to Sing Lung (Chinese: 成龍 , also transcribed as Cheng Long,  literally "become the dragon") to emphasise his similarity to Bruce Lee, whose stage name meant "Little Dragon" in Chinese. The film was unsuccessful because Chan was not accustomed to Lee's martial arts style. Despite the film's failure, Lo Wei continued producing films with similar themes, but with little improvement at the box office. 
Chan's first major breakthrough was the 1978 film Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, shot while he was loaned to Seasonal Film Corporation under a two-picture deal.  Director Yuen Woo-ping allowed Chan complete freedom over his stunt work. The film established the comedic kung fu genre, and proved refreshing to the Hong Kong audience.  The same year, Chan then starred in Drunken Master, which finally propelled him to mainstream success. 
Upon Chan's return to Lo Wei's studio, Lo tried to replicate the comedic approach of Drunken Master, producing and also showed new features at the time with Jackie as the Stunt Director Half a Loaf of Kung Fu and Spiritual Kung Fu.  He also gave Chan the opportunity to make his directorial debut in The Fearless Hyena. When Willie Chan left the company, he advised Jackie to decide for himself whether or not to stay with Lo Wei. During the shooting of Fearless Hyena Part II, Chan broke his contract and joined Golden Harvest, prompting Lo to blackmail Chan with triads, blaming Willie for his star's departure. The dispute was resolved with the help of fellow actor and director Jimmy Wang Yu, allowing Chan to stay with Golden Harvest. 
1980–1987: Commercial success in the action comedy genre
Willie Chan became Jackie's personal manager and firm friend, and remained so for over 30 years. He was instrumental in launching Chan's international career, beginning with his first forays into the American film industry in the 1980s. His first Hollywood film was The Big Brawl in 1980.   Chan then played a minor role in the 1981 film The Cannonball Run, which grossed over US$100 million worldwide.  Despite being largely ignored by North American audiences in favour of established American actors such as Burt Reynolds, Chan was impressed by the outtakes shown at the closing credits, inspiring him to include the same device in his future films.
After the commercial failure of The Protector in 1985, Chan temporarily abandoned his attempts to break into the US market, returning his focus to Hong Kong films. 
Back in Hong Kong, Chan's films began to reach a larger audience in East Asia, with early successes in the lucrative Japanese market including Drunken Master, The Young Master (1980) and Dragon Lord (1982).  The Young Master went on to beat previous box office records set by Bruce Lee and established Chan as Hong Kong cinema's top star. With Dragon Lord, he began experimenting with elaborate stunt action sequences,  including the final fight scene where he performs various stunts, including one where he does a back flip off a loft and falls to the lower ground. 
Chan produced a number of action comedy films with his opera school friends Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. The three co-starred together for the first time in 1983 in Project A, which introduced a dangerous stunt-driven style of martial arts that won it the Best Action Design Award at the third annual Hong Kong Film Awards.  Over the following two years, the "Three Brothers" appeared in Wheels on Meals and the original Lucky Stars trilogy.   In 1985, Chan made the first Police Story film, a crime action film in which Chan performed a number of dangerous stunts. It won Best Film at the 1986 Hong Kong Film Awards.  In 1986, Chan played "Asian Hawk," an Indiana Jones-esque character, in the film Armour of God. The film was Chan's biggest domestic box office success up to that point, grossing over HK$35 million. 
1988–1998: Acclaimed film sequels and Hollywood breakthrough
In 1988, Chan starred alongside Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao for the last time to date in the film Dragons Forever. Hung co-directed with Corey Yuen, and the villain in the film was played by Yuen Wah, both of whom were fellow graduates of the China Drama Academy.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Chan starred in a number of successful sequels beginning with Project A Part II and Police Story 2, which won the award for Best Action Choreography at the 1989 Hong Kong Film Awards. This was followed by Armour of God II: Operation Condor, and Police Story 3: Super Cop, for which Chan won the Best Actor Award at the 1993 Golden Horse Film Festival. In 1994, Chan reprised his role as Wong Fei-hung in Drunken Master II, which was listed in Time Magazine's All-Time 100 Movies.  Another sequel, Police Story 4: First Strike, brought more awards and domestic box office success for Chan, but did not fare as well in foreign markets. 
Up until January 1995, his films grossed over HK$500 million ( US$70 million ) in Hong Kong,  ¥39 billion ( US$489 million ) in Japan,  11.5 million box office admissions in France,  and 9.9 million box office admissions in Germany.  Despite his success in Asia and Europe, he was not very successful in North America, where he had only two wide releases as a leading actor, The Big Brawl and The Protector, grossing US$9.51 million ( US$32 million adjusted for inflation). 
Chan rekindled his Hollywood ambitions in the 1990s, but refused early offers to play villains in Hollywood films to avoid being typecast in future roles. For example, Sylvester Stallone offered him the role of Simon Phoenix, a criminal in the futuristic film Demolition Man. Chan declined and the role was taken by Wesley Snipes. 
Chan finally succeeded in establishing a foothold in the North American market in 1995 with a worldwide release of Rumble in the Bronx, attaining a cult following in the United States that was rare for Hong Kong movie stars.  The success of Rumble in the Bronx led to a 1996 release of Police Story 3: Super Cop in the United States under the title Supercop, which grossed a total of US$16,270,600. Chan's first huge blockbuster success came when he co-starred with Chris Tucker in the 1998 buddy cop action comedy Rush Hour,  grossing US$130 million in the United States alone.  This film made him a Hollywood star, after which he wrote his autobiography in collaboration with Jeff Yang entitled I Am Jackie Chan.
1999–2007: Fame in Hollywood and dramatisation
In 1998, Chan released his final film for Golden Harvest, Who Am I?. After leaving Golden Harvest in 1999, he produced and starred alongside Shu Qi in Gorgeous, a romantic comedy that focused on personal relationships and featured only a few martial arts sequences.  Although Chan had left Golden Harvest in 1999, the company continued to produce and distribute for two of his films, Gorgeous (1999) and The Accidental Spy (2001). Chan then helped create a PlayStation game in 2000 called Jackie Chan Stuntmaster, to which he lent his voice and performed the motion capture.  He continued his Hollywood success in 2000 when he teamed up with Owen Wilson in the Western action comedy Shanghai Noon. A sequel, Shanghai Knights followed in 2003 and also featured his first on-screen fight scene with Donnie Yen.  He reunited with Chris Tucker for Rush Hour 2 (2001), which was an even bigger success than the original, grossing $347 million worldwide.  Chan experimented with the use of special effects and wirework for the fight scenes in his next two Hollywood films, The Tuxedo (2002) and The Medallion (2003), which were not as successful critically or commercially.  In 2004, he teamed up with Steve Coogan in Around the World in 80 Days, loosely based on Jules Verne's novel of the same name. In 2004, film scholar Andrew Willis stated that Chan was "perhaps" the "most recognised star in the world". 
Despite the success of the Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon films, Chan became frustrated with Hollywood over the limited range of roles and lack of control over the filmmaking process.  In response to Golden Harvest's withdrawal from the film industry in 2003, Chan started his own film production company, JCE Movies Limited (Jackie Chan Emperor Movies Limited) in association with Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG).  His films have since featured an increasing number of dramatic scenes while continuing to succeed at the box office examples include New Police Story (2004), The Myth (2005) and the hit film Rob-B-Hood (2006).   
Chan's next release was the third instalment in the Rush Hour film series: Rush Hour 3 in August 2007. It grossed US$255 million.  However, it was a disappointment in Hong Kong, grossing only HK$3.5 million during its opening weekend. 
2008–present: New experiments and change in acting style
Filming of The Forbidden Kingdom, Chan's first on-screen collaboration with fellow Chinese actor Jet Li, was completed on 24 August 2007 and the movie was released in April 2008. The movie featured heavy use of effects and wires.   Chan voiced Master Monkey in Kung Fu Panda (released in June 2008), appearing with Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, and Angelina Jolie.  In addition, he has assisted Anthony Szeto in an advisory capacity for the writer-director's film Wushu, released on 1 May 2008. The film stars Sammo Hung and Wang Wenjie as father and son. 
In November 2007, Chan began filming Shinjuku Incident, a dramatic role featuring no martial arts sequences with director Derek Yee, which sees Chan take on the role of a Chinese immigrant in Japan.  The film was released on 2 April 2009. According to his blog, Chan discussed his wishes to direct a film after completing Shinjuku Incident, something he has not done for a number of years.  The film was expected to be the third in the Armour of God series, and had a working title of Armour of God III: Chinese Zodiac. The film was released on 12 December 2012.  Because the Screen Actors Guild did not go on strike, Chan started shooting his next Hollywood movie The Spy Next Door at the end of October in New Mexico.  In The Spy Next Door, Chan plays an undercover agent whose cover is blown when he looks after the children of his girlfriend. In Little Big Soldier, Chan stars alongside Leehom Wang as a soldier in the Warring States period in China. He is the lone survivor of his army and must bring a captured enemy soldier Leehom Wang to the capital of his province.
In 2010, he starred with Jaden Smith in The Karate Kid, a remake of the 1984 original.  This was Chan's first dramatic American film. He plays Mr. Han, a kung fu master and maintenance man who teaches Jaden Smith's character kung fu so he can defend himself from school bullies. His role in The Karate Kid won him the Favorite Buttkicker award at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in 2011.  In Chan's next movie, Shaolin, he plays a supporting role as a cook of a temple instead of one of the major characters.
His 100th movie, 1911, was released on 26 September 2011. Chan was the co-director, executive producer, and lead star of the movie.  While Chan has directed over ten films over his career, this was his first directorial work since Who Am I? in 1998. 1911 premiered in North America on 14 October. 
While at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Chan announced that he was retiring from action films citing that he was getting too old for the genre. He later clarified that he would not be completely retiring from action films, but would be performing fewer stunts and taking care of his body more. 
In 2013, Chan starred in Police Story 2013, a reboot of the Police Story franchise directed by Ding Sheng, and it was released in China at the end of 2013. Chan's next film Dragon Blade was released in early 2015 and co-starred Hollywood actors John Cusack and Adrien Brody. In 2015, Chan was awarded the title of "Datuk" by Malaysia as he helped Malaysia to boost its tourism, especially in Kuala Lumpur where he previously shot his films.  In early 2017, Chan's new film titled Kung Fu Yoga, a Chinese-Indian project, which also starred Disha Patani, Sonu Sood and Amyra Dastur, was released. The film reunited Chan with director Stanley Tong, who directed a number of Chan's films in the 1990s. Upon release, the film was a huge success at the box office, and became the 5th highest-grossing film in China, one month after its release. In 2016 he teamed up with Johnny Knoxville and starred in his own production Skiptrace .
Chan starred in the 2016 action-comedy Railroad Tigers and the 2017 action-thriller The Foreigner, an Anglo-Chinese production. He also stars in the science fiction film Bleeding Steel. In 2021, he will appear in Project X-Traction alongside John Cena.
His films had collectively grossed HK$1.14 billion ( US$145 million ) at the Hong Kong box office up until 2010,  over US$72 million in South Korea between 1991 and 2010,  and ¥48.4 billion ( US$607 million ) in Japan up until 2012.  As of 2018 [update] , his films have grossed US$1.84 billion  (more than US$2.44 billion adjusted for inflation) in the United States and Canada,  CN¥8.6 billion ( US$1.24 billion ) in China,  20 million box office admissions in France,  and over 27.3 million admissions in Germany, Spain and Italy.  As of 2018 [update] , his films have grossed more than US$5 billion at the worldwide box office. 
Chan had vocal lessons whilst at the Peking Opera School in his childhood. He began producing records professionally in the 1980s and has gone on to become a successful singer in Hong Kong and Asia. He has released 20 albums since 1984 and has performed vocals in Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese and English. He often sings the theme songs of his films, which play over the closing credits. Chan's first musical recording was "Kung Fu Fighting Man", the theme song played over the closing credits of The Young Master (1980).  At least 10 of these recordings have been released on soundtrack albums for the films.   His Cantonese song "Story of a Hero" (英雄故事) (theme song of Police Story) was selected by the Royal Hong Kong Police and incorporated into their recruitment advertisement in 1994. 
Chan voiced the character of Shang in the Chinese release of the Walt Disney animated feature Mulan (1998). He also performed the song "I'll Make a Man Out of You", for the film's soundtrack. For the US release, the speaking voice was performed by B.D. Wong and the singing voice was done by Donny Osmond. He also collaborated with Ani DiFranco on "Unforgettable". 
In 2007, Chan recorded and released "We Are Ready", the official one-year countdown song to the 2008 Summer Olympics which he performed at a ceremony marking the one-year countdown to the 2008 Summer Paralympics.  Chan also released one of the two official Olympics albums, Official Album for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – Jackie Chan's Version, which featured a number of special guest appearances.  Chan performed "Hard to Say Goodbye" along with Andy Lau, Liu Huan and Wakin (Emil) Chau, at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. 
Chan received his honorary Doctorate of Social Science degree in 1996 from the Hong Kong Baptist University.  In 2009, he received another honorary doctorate from the University of Cambodia,   and has also been awarded an honorary professorship by the Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong in 2008. 
Chan is currently a faculty member of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University,  where he teaches the subject of tourism management. As of 2015 [update] , he also serves as the Dean of the Jackie Chan Film and Television Academy under the Wuhan Institute of Design and Sciences. 
In 1982, Chan married Joan Lin, a Taiwanese actress. Their son, singer and actor Jaycee Chan, was born that same year.  After he engaged in an extra-marital affair with Elaine Ng Yi-Lei, an illegitimate daughter by the name of Etta Ng Chok Lam was born on 18 January 1999. It turned into a scandal within the media. Although he reportedly gave Elaine 70,000 HK dollars each month for her living expenses and 600,000 HK dollars when she moved to Shanghai, the transactions were later claimed to be nonexistent by her lawyer.     Despite regretting the results of the affair, Chan said he had "only committed a fault that many men in the world commit".    During the incident, Elaine stated she would take care of her daughter without Chan. 
Chan speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and American Sign Language and also speaks some German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and Thai.  Chan is an avid football fan and supports the Hong Kong national football team, the England national football team, and Manchester City. 
He is a fan of the Italian duo Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, from whom he was inspired for his movies. 
Chan has performed most of his own stunts throughout his film career, which are choreographed by the Jackie Chan Stunt Team. The team was established in 1983, and Chan has used them in all his subsequent films to make choreographing easier, given his understanding of each member's abilities.  Chan and his team undertake many of the stunts performed by other characters in his films, shooting the scenes so that their faces are obscured. 
In the early 1980s, Jackie Chan began experimenting with elaborate stunt action sequences in films such as The Young Master (1980)  and especially Dragon Lord (1982),  which featured a pyramid fight scene that holds the record for the most takes required for a single scene, with 2900 takes,  and the final fight scene where he performs various stunts, including one where he does a backflip off a loft and falls to the lower ground.  In 1983, Project A saw the official formation of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and added elaborate, dangerous stunts to the fights and typical slapstick humor at one point, Chan falls from the top of a clock tower through a series of fabric canopies. Critics have compared his comedic stunts in Project A to Buster Keaton, who was also known to perform his own stunts, although Chan himself had not watched Keaton's films until years after Project A released according to Chan, Project A was an evolution of the action stunt work he had been doing in earlier kung fu comedy films since The Young Master. 
Police Story (1985) contained many large-scale action scenes, including an opening sequence featuring a car chase through a shanty town, Chan stopping a double-decker bus with his service revolver and a climactic fight scene in a shopping mall. This final scene earned the film the nickname "Glass Story" by the crew, due to the huge number of panes of sugar glass that were broken. During a stunt in this last scene, in which Chan slides down a pole from several stories up, the lights covering the pole had heated it considerably, resulting in Chan suffering second-degree burns, particularly to his hands, as well as a back injury and dislocation of his pelvis upon landing.  Chan performed similarly elaborate stunts in numerous other films, such as several Police Story sequels, Project A Part II, the Armor of God series, Dragons Forever, Drunken Master II, Rumble in the Bronx, and the Rush Hour series, among others.
The dangerous nature of his stunts makes it difficult to get insurance, especially in the United States where his stunt work is contractually limited.  Chan holds the Guinness World Record for "Most Stunts by a Living Actor", which emphasises that "no insurance company will underwrite Chan's productions in which he performs all his own stunts". 
Chan has been injured frequently when attempting stunts many of them have been shown as outtakes or as bloopers during the closing credits of his films. He came closest to death filming Armour of God when he fell from a tree and fractured his skull. Over the years, he has dislocated his pelvis and also broken numerous parts of his body, including his fingers, toes, nose, both cheekbones, hips, sternum, neck, ankle, and ribs.   Promotional materials for Rumble in the Bronx emphasised that he performed all of the stunts, and one version of the movie poster even diagrammed his many injuries.
Chan created his screen persona as a response to the late Bruce Lee and the numerous imitators who appeared before and after Lee's death. Lee's characters were typically stern, morally upright heroes. In contrast, Chan plays well-meaning, slightly foolish regular men, often at the mercy of their friends, girlfriends, or families, who always triumph in the end despite the odds.  Additionally, he has stated that he deliberately styles his movement to be the opposite of Lee's: where Lee held his arms wide, Chan holds his tight to the body where Lee was loose and flowing, Chan is tight and choppy. Despite the success of the Rush Hour series, Chan has stated that he is not a fan of it since he neither appreciates the action scenes in the movie nor understands American humor. 
In the 2000s, the ageing Chan grew tired of being typecast as an action hero, prompting him to act with more emotion in his latest films.  In New Police Story, he portrayed a character suffering from alcoholism and mourning his murdered colleagues.  To further shed the image of a "nice guy", Chan played an antihero for the first time in Rob-B-Hood starring as Thongs, a burglar with gambling problems.  He plays a low-level gangster in 2009's Shinjuku Incident, a serious drama set in Tokyo about unsavory characters. 
Chan has received global recognition for his film acting and stunt work. His accolades include the Innovator Award from the American Choreography Awards and a lifetime achievement award from the Taurus World Stunt Awards.  He has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars.  In addition, Chan has also been honoured by placing his hand and footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.  Despite considerable box office success in Asia, Chan's Hollywood films have been criticised with regard to their action choreography. Reviewers of Rush Hour 2, The Tuxedo, and Shanghai Knights noted the toning down of Chan's fighting scenes, citing less intensity compared to his earlier films.    The comedic value of his films is questioned some critics stating that they can be childish at times.  Chan was awarded the MBE in 1989 and the Silver Bauhinia Star (SBS) in 1999.
Chan has been the subject of Ash's song "Kung Fu", Heavy Vegetable's "Jackie Chan Is a Punk Rocker", Leehom Wang's "Long Live Chinese People", as well as in "Jackie Chan" by Frank Chickens, and television shows Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Celebrity Deathmatch and Family Guy.
He has been cited as the inspiration for manga and anime such as Dragon Ball, which was particularly inspired by Drunken Master,    and the fight scenes in Jackie Chan movies   the show pays homage with a character by the alias "Jackie Chun".  Toriyama said he had a young Jackie Chan in mind for a live-action Goku, stating that "nobody could play Goku but him."  Chan himself was a fan of the series, and had expressed some interest in adapting Dragon Ball into a live-action film, but said it would require "a lot of amazing special effects and an enormous budget." 
The parkour movement was also inspired by Chan.  
A number of video games have been based on, or featured, Jackie Chan. His film Wheels on Meals (called Spartan X in Japan) spawned the hit 1984 beat 'em up arcade game Spartan X (released as Kung-Fu Master in Western markets), and its sequel Spartan X 2 for the Nintendo Famicom console. Spartan X laid the foundations for the beat 'em up genre,   and inspired other games including Super Mario Bros. (1985)  and Street Fighter (1987).   Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu was released in 1990 for the PC-Engine and Nintendo Entertainment System. In 1995, Chan was featured in the arcade game Jackie Chan The Kung-Fu Master. A series of Japanese video games were released on the MSX computer by Pony, based on several of Chan's films (Project A, Project A 2, Police Story, The Protector and Wheels on Meals). Other games based on Jackie Chan include Jackie Chan Stuntmaster, Jackie Chan Adventures and Jackie Chan J-Mat Fitness.  Chan also inspired video game characters such as Lei Wulong in Tekken and the fighting-type Pokémon Hitmonchan.   
Jackie Chan has a sponsorship deal with Mitsubishi Motors that has resulted in the appearance of Mitsubishi cars in a number of his films. Furthermore, Mitsubishi launched a limited series of Evolution cars personally customised by Chan.   
Chan was also the primary catalyst for the creation of review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, whose founder Senh Duong was his fan and created the website after collecting all the reviews of Chan's Hong Kong action movies as they were being released in the United States. In anticipation for Rush Hour, Chan's first major Hollywood crossover, he coded the website in two weeks and the site went live shortly before the release of Rush Hour.  
Chan says he has always wanted to be a role model to children, and has remained popular with them due to his good-natured acting style. He has generally refused to play villains and has been very restrained in using swear words in his films – he persuaded the director of Rush Hour to take "fuck" out of the script.  Chan's greatest regret in life is not having received a proper education,  inspiring him to fund educational institutions around the world. He funded the construction of the Jackie Chan Science Centre at the Australian National University  and the establishment of schools in poor regions of China. 
Chan is a spokesperson for the Government of Hong Kong, appearing in public service announcements. In a Clean Hong Kong commercial, he urged the people of Hong Kong to be more considerate with regards to littering, a problem that has been widespread for decades.  Furthermore, in an advertisement promoting nationalism, he gave a short explanation of the March of the Volunteers, the national anthem of the People's Republic of China.  When Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005, Chan participated in the opening ceremony.  In the United States, Chan appeared alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in a government advert to combat copyright infringement and made another public service announcement with Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to encourage people, especially Asian people, to join the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.  
Construction has begun on a Jackie Chan museum in Shanghai. In November 2013, a statue of Chan was unveiled in front of what is now known as the JC Film Gallery, which opened in the spring of 2014. 
On 25 June 2013, Chan responded to a hoax Facebook page created a few days earlier that alleged he had died. He said that several people contacted him to congratulate him on his recent engagement, and soon thereafter contacted him again to ask if he was still alive. He posted a Facebook message, commenting: "If I died, I would probably tell the world!"  
On 1 February 2015, Chan was awarded the honour of Knight Commander of the Order of the Territorial Crown by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia Tuanku Abdul Halim in conjunction with the country's Federal Territory Day. It carries the title of Datuk in Malaysia.  
In 2015, a made-up word inspired by Chan's description of his hair during an interview for a commercial, duang, became an internet viral meme in China. The Chinese character for the word is a composite of two characters of Chan's name. 
During a news conference in Shanghai on 28 March 2004, Chan referred to the recently concluded Republic of China 2004 presidential election in Taiwan, in which Democratic Progressive Party candidates Chen Shui-bian and Annette Lu were re-elected as president and Vice-President, as "the biggest joke in the world".    A Taiwanese legislator and senior member of the DPP, Parris Chang [zh] , called for the government of Taiwan to ban his films and bar him the right to visit Taiwan.  Police and security personnel separated Chan from scores of protesters shouting "Jackie Chan, get out" when he arrived at Taipei airport in June 2008. 
Referring to his participation in the torch relay for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Chan spoke out against demonstrators who disrupted the relay several times attempting to draw attention to a wide-ranging number of grievances against the Chinese government. He warned that "publicity seekers" planning to stop him from carrying the Olympic Torch "not get anywhere near" him. Chan also argued that the Olympics coverage that year would "provide another way for us to tell the world about Chinese culture." 
In 2009, Chan was named an "anti-drug ambassador" by the Chinese government, actively taking part in anti-drug campaigns and supporting President Hu Jintao's declaration that illegal drugs should be eradicated, and their users punished severely. In 2014, when his own son Jaycee was arrested for cannabis use, he said that he was "angry", "shocked", "heartbroken" and "ashamed" of his son. He also remarked, "I hope all young people will learn a lesson from Jaycee and stay far from the harm of drugs. I say to Jaycee that you have to accept the consequences when you do something wrong." 
On 18 April 2009, during a panel discussion at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, he questioned whether or not broad freedom is a good thing.  Noting the strong tensions in Hong Kong and Taiwan, he said, "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."   Chan's comments prompted angry responses from several prominent figures in Taiwan and Hong Kong.   A spokesman later said Chan was referring to freedom in the entertainment industry, rather than in Chinese society at large. 
In December 2012, Chan caused outrage when he criticised Hong Kong as a "city of protest", suggesting that demonstrators' rights in Hong Kong should be limited.  The same month, in an interview with Phoenix TV, Chan stated that the United States was the "most corrupt" country in the world,  which in turn angered parts of the online community.   Other articles situated Chan's comments in the context of his career and life in the United States, including his "embrace of the American film market"  and his seeking asylum in the United States from Hong Kong triads. 
In April 2016, Chan was named in the Panama Papers. 
In 2019, Chan criticised Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests,  saying that the " 'Five-starred Red Flag' is respected everywhere around the world."  He also supports the National People's Congress decision on Hong Kong national security legislation. 
In addition to his film production and distribution company, JCE Movies Limited, Jackie Chan also owns or co-owns the production companies JC Group China, Jackie & Willie Productions  (with Willie Chan) and Jackie & JJ Productions.  Chan has also put his name to Jackie Chan Theater International, a cinema chain in China, co-run by Hong Kong company Sparkle Roll Group Ltd. The first—Jackie Chan-Yaolai International Cinema—opened in February 2010, and is claimed to be the largest cinema complex in China, with 17 screens and 3,500 seats. Chan expressed his hopes that the size of the venue would afford young, non-commercial directors the opportunity to have their films screened. 15 further cinemas in the chain were planned for 2010, [ needs update ] throughout Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, with a potential total of 65 cinemas throughout the country proposed. 
In 2004, Chan launched his own line of clothing, which bears a Chinese dragon logo and the English word "Jackie", or the initials "JC".  Chan also has a number of other branded businesses. His sushi restaurant chain, Jackie's Kitchen, has outlets throughout Hong Kong, as well as seven in South Korea, with plans to open another in Las Vegas. Jackie Chan's Cafe has outlets in Beijing, Singapore, and the Philippines. Other ventures include Jackie Chan Signature Club gyms (a partnership with California Fitness), and a line of chocolates, cookies and nutritional oatcakes.  With each of his businesses, a percentage of the profits goes to various charities, including the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation.
In 2016, Chan partnered with Asian Le Mans Series champion David Cheng to form a racing team in the series and the FIA World Endurance Championship. The two met in March 2015 and Chan told Cheng about his interest in motorsports and raised the possibility of starting a team.  Together, the two formed Baxi DC Racing Alpine, the first mainland China-based operation in WEC. In October, leading into the 2016–17 Asian Le Mans Series season, the team was rebranded to Jackie Chan DC Racing and raced with liveries promoting Chan's movie Kung Fu Yoga.  At the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team became the first Chinese team to win its class (LMP2). 
Chan is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and has championed charitable works and causes. He has campaigned for conservation, against animal abuse and has promoted disaster relief efforts for floods in mainland China and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.  
In June 2006, citing his admiration of the efforts made by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to help those in need, Chan pledged the donation of half his assets to charity upon his death.  On 10 March 2008, Chan was the guest of honour for the launch, by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, of the Jackie Chan Science Centre at the John Curtin School of Medical Research of the Australian National University. Chan is also a supporter and ambassador of Save China's Tigers, which aims to save the endangered South China tiger through breeding and releasing them into the wild.  Following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Chan donated RMB ¥10 million to help those in need. In addition, he planned to make a film about the Chinese earthquake to raise money for survivors.  In response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Chan and fellow Hong Kong-based celebrities, including American rapper MC Jin, headlined a special three-hour charity concert, titled Artistes 311 Love Beyond Borders, on 1 April 2011 to help with Japan's disaster recovery effort.   The 3-hour concert raised over $3.3 million.  In January 2017, Chan donated $65,000 to help flood victims in Thailand. 
Chan founded the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation in 1988 to offer scholarship and active help to Hong Kong's young people and provide aid to victims of natural disaster or illness.  In 2005, Chan created the Dragon's Heart Foundation to help children and the elderly in remote areas of China by building schools, providing books, fees, and uniforms for children the organisation expanded its reach to Europe in 2011.   The foundation also provides for the elderly with donations of warm clothing, wheelchairs, and other items.
One product which Chan had endorsed in China was the "Little Tyrant" ("小霸王") produced by Subor, a Nintendo Entertainment System hardware clone marketed as a "learning machine" to circumvent China's then-ban on video game consoles.  In 2010, Chan served as brand ambassador for Kaspersky Lab's antivirus software in Asia. 
Wegmans is a regional supermarket chain with 106 stores: 48 in New York, 18 in Pennsylvania, nine in New Jersey, 13 in Virginia, eight in Maryland, six in Massachusetts and four in North Carolina. It is one of the largest private companies in the U.S.:
Wegmans is a family company, founded in 1916, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y. Danny Wegman is chairman Colleen Wegman, his daughter, is president and CEO. Danny’s daughter Nicole Wegman is senior vice president of Wegmans Brand. Robert Wegman, Danny’s father, was chairman until his death in April 2006.
Brothers Walter and John Wegman (Robert Wegman’s father and uncle) learned the food business by working in their parents’ store in Rochester. John peddled fresh produce from a pushcart, and in 1916, he opened the Rochester Fruit & Vegetable Company, which marked the beginning of Wegmans Food Markets. Walter joined him a year later. Robert Wegman assumed leadership of the company in 1950, guiding it until his death in 2006.
- Ranked #4 on FORTUNE magazine’s 2021 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Wegmans has been on the list every year since it began in 1998, and in 2005, ranked #1.
- Ranked #1 in the 2019 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient ® study of the ‘100 most-visible companies.’
- Dubbed America’s Favorite Supermarket in 2018 based on a consumer study by Market Force Information.
- Wegmans raises the bar on the shopping experience: the best quality, a spectacular abundance of choice, restaurant-quality prepared foods, beautiful stores and displays, and a nearly telepathic level of customer service.
- In 2020, more than 7,500 people contacted Wegmans asking for a store in their community. Thousands more wrote to say how much they like shopping at Wegmans, appreciate the way Wegmans employees treat them, or how much they appreciate the products and services offered.
- Consistent low prices on the items families buy every week. Wegmans also offers the choice of Family Pack size on products throughout the store to save time and money—30% or more compared to regular size.
- Exceptional levels of charitable donations focused on programs that reduce hunger, help young people succeed, promote healthy eating and activity, strengthen neighborhoods, and support United Way initiatives. Last year, Wegmans donated about 19.6 million pounds of food to local food banks and programs that feed the hungry.
- Strong employee benefit programs, including an employee scholarship program that provides over $5 million in tuition assistance to employees each year. Wegmans has awarded $130 million in scholarships to more than 42,500 employees since this program began in 1984.
- Offer more choice: 50,000 to 70,000 products (in the largest stores), compared to an average of just over 40,000 (according to the Food Marketing Institute) in most supermarkets. More than 4,000 organic products throughout the store.
- Are larger than most supermarkets: (We need room for all that stuff!) Stores run 75,000 to 140,000 square feet in size, with spacious aisles.
- Look and feel like a European open-air market: Dazzling displays of fresh produce, artisan breads, and other baked goods hot from the oven several times a day. Meat, fresh-caught seafood, deli products and imported cheeses, international foods, plus all the grocery, dairy, frozen, and household items usually found in a supermarket.
- Customers will also find:
- A Market Café offering take-out or in-store dining, with seating for 100 to upwards of 300
- Restaurant-quality entrées, soups, appetizers, gourmet sandwiches, and side dishes
- Sushi made fresh daily, in a variety of vegetable, cooked, and raw made-to-order selections
- Old-fashioned Sub Shop offering hot and cold subs/wraps, party trays, and cookies
- The Buzz Coffee Shop with specialty coffee, tea, and breakfast sandwiches
- Organic Salad Bar, Veggie Bar, Homestyle Bar, and Asian Bar
- Pizza Shop featuring thin-crust pizza, calzones, and chicken wings
- Bakery – European breads and rolls, water-boiled bagels, muffins, pies, cakes, and pastries
- Nature’s Marketplace – natural and organic foods, supplements, premium teas, and foods for special dietary needs, including gluten-free
- Pharmacy offering free home shipping, automated refills, and even pet medications
- Housewares and seasonal merchandise – everything to entertain, prepare, serve, and celebrate food
- Floral Shop, greeting cards, and gifts
- Health and beauty care products cosmetics bath and body
Who We Are
- We care about the well-being and success of every person.
- High standards are a way of life. We pursue excellence in everything we do.
- We make a difference in every community we serve.
- We respect and listen to our people.
- We empower our people to make decisions that improve their work and benefit our customers and our company.
What We Believe
At Wegmans, we believe that good people, working toward a common goal, can accomplish anything they set out to do. In this spirit, we set our goal to be the very best at serving the needs of our customers. Every action we take should be made with this in mind. We also believe that we can achieve our goal only if we fulfill the needs of our own people. To our customers and our people, we pledge continuous improvement, and we make the commitment:
“EVERY DAY YOU GET OUR BEST”
Our roots go back to 1916, and we’ve hit many, many milestones that have gained attention in the supermarket industry since then. Here’s more about the journey that took Wegmans from its beginnings to today.
Select the decades below to expand and view our history.
Origins of Wegmans
Walter E. Wegman is employed in his parents’ Fernwood Avenue grocery store. His brother, John B., peddles fresh produce to Rochester, NY housewives from a pushcart.
Brothers Walter and John Wegman (Robert Wegman’s father and uncle) learn the food business by working in their mom and dad’s grocery store in Rochester. Walter works in the store while John peddles fresh produce from a pushcart. In 1916, John opens the Rochester Fruit & Vegetable Company, which marks the beginning of Wegmans Food Markets. Walter joins him a year later.
John and Walter Wegman purchase the Seel Grocery Co. and expand operations to include general groceries and bakery operations.
The two brothers make national headlines when they open a 20,000 square foot store—gigantic by standards of the day—with eye-popping innovations like a cafeteria that seats 300.
Wegmans stores are incorporated, and feature meats, produce, groceries, dairy products, and baked goods.
Wegmans introduces two Rochester firsts: refrigerated display windows and vaporized water sprays to keep produce fresh.
Wegmans runs a catering service and cooking school out of its East Main Street store. Wegmans Food Institute offers shoppers tips on food preparation and nutrition in a weekly menu bulletin.
Frozen (then known as “frosted”) foods first appear at Wegmans.
Wegmans’ first suburban store and the first store located within a plaza opens at 1910 Monroe Avenue in the Twelve Corners Shopping Center, becoming the ninth store in the chain. The store has circular checkout counters (registers are at both ends of the store: three in front, two in back). Produce in processed in the basement and sent up to the selling floor by elevator. (The store closes in 1965)
Robert Wegman converts Wegmans stores to self-service format.
When Robert Wegman’s uncle died, Robert became president of the entire company at the age of 31. When he took the helm, Robert Wegman decided his goal was to build the finest supermarket chain in the land–even if that meant Wegmans wouldn’t be the fastest-growing company. One of the first things he did was to raise all salaries. He believed that if a company wants its employees to care about customers, then the company has to care about the employees’ needs.
Wegmans shoppers, who receive play money with their purchases, bid for merchandise in a television studio auction on Wegmans’ hour long TV show, “Dollar Derby.”
Wegmans announces a broad program of employee benefits for their more than 350 full-time employees.
Northgate Plaza, first envisioned by Robert Wegman who bought the land and sold it to the plaza developer, opens in September with Rochester’s largest supermarket to date a 16,500 square foot Wegmans store. Features of store include ledge rock and redwood exterior trim, a refrigerated Produce Department, a Kiddie Corner where parents may leave their children while they shop, and a conveyor belt meat-packaging operation where customers may watch their meats being wrapped. (Closes in December 1983.)
Wegmans announces an employee profit-sharing plan.
A 15,000 square foot store opens in Eastway Plaza with the “atmosphere of a chic metro department store.” Features include special lighting techniques, a picture window through which customers can watch automatic meat packaging, cash registers that automatically calculate change, “electric eye” conveyor belts to reduce checkout time, magic-eye doors, and air conditioning.
A store opens in March in Newark Plaza, Wayne County, the first shopping plaza and supermarket developed outside of Monroe County by Wegmans Enterprises. It is the eleventh and largest supermarket in Wegmans’ chain, and the largest supermarket in Newark. The $2 million shopping center on a 35-acre site serves a 12-town area with a population of 70,000. Features of the 25,000 square foot store include Kiddie Corner, “electric eye” checkout desks and “magic carpet” self-opening doors.
The “largest and most elaborate supermarket for miles around” opens in May at 2833 Ridge Rd. West, Greece, in Ridgemont Plaza. The imposing building with laminated arch construction is called the “new look in supermarkets.” The third and largest development of Wegmans Enterprises, Inc., serves a trading area of 60,000 families, 38,000 of which live fewer than 15 minutes away. Features of the 26,000 square foot store include a “home center” with a wide variety of household equipment and apparel, a large gourmet section with such items as preserved octopus, hearts of palm and candied cauliflower, a total of 5,800 food items, and use of incandescent bulbs with fluorescent tubes to create the effect of daylight (one of the first such installations in the country).
Wegmans purchases its first truck trailer and displays its sunburst logo for the first time.
Wegmans joins Staff Supermarket Associates to obtain their own “Staff” brand for private label products ranging from frozen food to sponges.
A store at the corner of Clinton Avenue South and Broad Street in Midtown Plaza that blends “cracker barrel friendliness into ultra-modern market,” opens on almost the exact site of the earlier “showplace” store. Features of the 17,000 square foot store include the first service deli in a Rochester-area supermarket, a barbecue section where meat is cooked in full view of the customer, an extensive gourmet and specialty foods section, and pies baked on the premises.
Danny Wegman joins the company.
A store at 3195 Monroe Avenue, Pittsford, opens in December in a mini plaza adjoining Pittsford Plaza. The same size as Wegmans’ Ridgemont store, the new store takes advantage of improved design to increase the area allotted to customer shopping. An air curtain entrance, believed to be the first food store installation in the area, replaces conventional doors with a constant flow of heat directed downward to eliminate cold drafts. The total number of stores is still 22 because the Twelve Corners store closed several days before the new store opening. Features of this 26,000 square foot store include white marble facing, a 30-foot high arched ceiling, an 84-foot meat counter, and a carpeted bakery area where customers watch pies and doughnuts being made.
Robert Wegman is elected President of the Super Market Institute, a worldwide food research and education association with more than 890 retail and wholesale food companies as members.
Wegmans starts a $2 million egg-producing operation northeast of Wolcott, NY, to ensure a quality egg product and quick service to the 24 supermarkets. The location of the 350-acre egg farm, halfway between Rochester and Syracuse, foreshadows Wegmans’ move into the Syracuse market. The first eggs produced there in 1968. (The Egg Farm is sold in 2007.)
Wegmans opens its first Syracuse store at John Glenn Blvd. in Clay, NY.
Robert Wegman becomes chairman of the company.
In the 1970s, Wegmans begins food bank donations.
Operations begin at Wegmans’ own $3 million meat distribution center at the Brooks Ave. site in Rochester. The Meat Center, the first of its type, is another in a series of moves to enable Wegmans to gain firmer control of their food supplies.
Wegmans receives $100 Million Club Award, a plaque signifying that the supermarket company has topped $100 million in sales. A privately-owned firm that does not report profits, Wegmans previously had not reported sales.
The Consumer Affairs department is created to act as the voice of the consumer inside the company, and to educate shoppers about nutrition, food safety, and other food issues.
Wegmans is the first supermarket chain in New York to offer 24-hour service in some of its stores. To meet added training demands, the company opens its own Checker Training School.
The first Wegmans Pharmacy opens, at the Lyell Ave. store.
Wegmans begins the most extensive unit-pricing program in Upstate New York, and within a few months, “vigorous open dating of perishables” such as milk.
The first Wegmans home center opens in March next to the Lyell Ave. superstore. The self-service center features merchandise for the home, including lumber, paneling, hardware, tools and paint. At the same time, hard goods are integrated into several Wegmans supermarkets. Such services as coin-operated copy centers and expanded flower departments are added to supermarkets.
Wegmans’ first seafood department opens.
The Pittsford superstore, with a decorative, boutique-like atmosphere and a resident home economist, opens in October. This “Superstore II” format includes the first state-chartered commercial bank completely within a supermarket and becomes the first major food store in the area to accept BankAmericard for groceries. Other features of the 60,000 square foot store include a pharmacy, soft goods, fabrics, in-store bakery, flower shop, 4,000 item Old World cheese shop, and a Fisherman’s Wharf fresh seafood department.
Acquisition of Bilt Rite Chase Pitkin, Inc., a retailer of lumber, hardware, millwork, garden and landscape materials, and building supplies, adds customer assistance capability to the previously self-service, home center operation.
Wegmans East Rochester is one of the first stores in the country to use laser scanning to read UPCs printed on products. It is the first in New York State and third in North America to install this checkout system.
Danny Wegman becomes the president of Wegmans.
Conversion to unwrapped produce begins in response to customers’ desires to select their own quality and quantity of fruits and vegetables. “Pick a little or pick a lot” departments replace pre-packaging practices in effect since 1955.
Wegmans opens the first Buffalo, NY store on Dick Road.
Wegmans develops a private-label buying program and introduces Wegmans Brand items chain wide.
A Super Natural Health Food Center opens May 21 in the Henrietta Wegmans superstore to offer a greater concentration of specialty or “natural” food items,500 in all. Decor features random pegged-oak floors, a rustic stained glass effect over display areas and an old-fashioned “metal” ceiling. The second Super Natural Health Food Center opens at Eastway in July.
The Bakeshop installs a spiral glass freezer that enables Wegmans to freeze bread dough and roll dough and danish for use in in-store bakeries. Its capacity is 5,000 pounds per hour and temperature is -35° F.
Robert Wegman is awarded the Sidney Rabb Award, the Food Marketing Institute’s highest membership honor. The award was named after Sidney Rabb, who was Chairman of the Board of Stop & Shop Companies of Boston. It is bestowed “in recognition of extraordinary contributions to the food marketing industry and to his community.”
Installation of the world’s fastest egg-processing machine begins at the Egg Farm. The computerized Diamond 200 grader and packer pre-sorts, candles, weighs and packages the eggs. It both is cost and labor efficient. At the time of its installation, Wegmans’ Diamond 200 is the only production model in existence. (The Egg Farm is sold in 2007.)
The Wegmans Employee Scholarship Program begins.
The company’s first Bulk Foods Department, offering 226 items, is introduced in the Dick Road store in Buffalo on May 4.
The Wegmans Federal Credit Union begins daily operation on August 1. As a non-profit financial institution, it is committed to providing higher dividends on savings and lower-interest loan rates. The Wegmans Federal Credit Union was formed as an employee benefit to provide an alternative to traditional banks. Within its first six months of operation, it grows from a $5.00 credit union to one with over $1.5 million in assets.
Wegmans, in partnership with the Rochester City School District, announces the establishment of the “Work Scholarship Connection.” The program is designed to provide academic assistance and part-time jobs at Wegmans for 14 and 15 year old city school students who need special motivation to complete high school. By providing positive role models and work experience, the program is intended to help these students understand the relationship between work and education. Wegmans also offers the promise of a college scholarship upon graduation to provide the incentive for these students to stay in school and perform at a higher level.
A floral warehouse and processing facility opens, allowing Wegmans to handle fresh and cut flowers for the stores on a more efficient and economical basis.
FORTUNE Magazine awards Wegmans best in customer service among national food retailers.
A United Way Give-Away campaign starts in the stores and raises $1.6 million in its first year.
Wegmans Brand product standards begin to go beyond national brand quality.
Nicole Wegman joins the company.
The company’s first Big Pack warehouse section is launched at our Corning store. These items foreshadow the Family Pack products customers know today, offering the best value throughout the store.
In the 1990s, Wegmans begins hiring executive chefs to create better ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook foods.
Wegmans introduces Shoppers Club, an electronic discount program, as an alternative to coupon clipping. The program is introduced in the Corning store in March.
A pilot plastic bag recycling program is set up in February at the Ridge-Culver store. By June 1, all stores are participating.
Wegmans begins donating perishable foods in Rochester. Buffalo and Syracuse also have similar perishable donation programs, which started the previous year.
Colleen Wegman joins the company.
The Strive for 5 program is launched in the produce department in May to encourage customers and employees to eat five cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
The first Market Cafe opens at the Corning, NY store.
The Wegmans Food You Feel Good About program is launched in the bakery on February 2nd.
A new 105,000 square foot corporate office building opens in Rochester, NY on Wegmans Market St.
Wegmans is included in the book, Best Companies to Work For in America.” The selection was based on pay, benefits and job security.
In June, Robert and Peggy Wegman announce their gift of $1 million over three years to the Catholic Diocese of Rochester to run early-childhood education programs for 3- and 4-year olds.
The first Wegmans store outside of New York State opens in June in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The company’s first Nature’s Marketplace department opens in October at the Marketplace store in Rochester, NY. Nature’s Marketplace offers natural and organic foods, supplements, herbal remedies, cleaning products, cosmetics, and loose-leaf teas. There are also foods for people with special dietary needs.
Robert and Peggy Wegman announce a 10-year, $25 million gift to offer children in city neighborhoods the choice of attending one of six Catholic elementary schools in Rochester.
The Wegmans Italian Classics line of products is introduced–it’s the largest Wegmans brand product launch to date.
A W-Dollar program is introduced, enabling customers to add a cash value to their Shoppers Club card. (This program ends in 2015.)
Wegmans’ first website airs, featuring more than 300 pages of information and services for customers online.
Wegmans launches its Seafood HACCP program for food safety chain wide.
On April 1, 1997, Robert B. Wegman celebrates 60 years of service to the company.
A Wegmans mini “store” opens in The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester. A 3,500 square foot kid’s exhibit offers working checkout counters, kid-sized shopping carts, and loads of imitation food to buy or reshelf. It becomes the most popular exhibit in the museum.
“A new generation of superstores” opens in Pittsford Plaza. This store greatly influences future store designs. Eight-hundred employees are employed to “help our customers serve great-tasting food at home,” said Bill Congdon, store manager. There is even a Wegmans Menu Cooking School for customer classes and employee training.
Wegmans is named to FORTUNE Magazine’s first-ever list of the Best Companies to Work For.” The list appears in the December 29, 1997 issue. Wegmans is ranked #16 and is highest among retailers.
Wegmans becomes title sponsor of the Rochester LPGA event. The tournament is renamed the Wegmans Rochester International. (The company continues title sponsorship through 2014.)
Danny Wegman is elected chairman of the Food Marketing Institute board. He serves as chairman for the next two years.
Wegmans Pittsford opens the company’s first French pastry shop called the Patisserie. The shop is 2,000 square feet and features 20 different French pastry items.
Wegmans opens its first New Jersey store with the grand opening of Wegmans Princeton. Princeton is the first “announcement-free” store. More than 40 phones and 50 pagers keep employees connected. There is also no weekly ad printed here.
Wegmans and the Buffalo Bills form a five-year marketing partnership.
Wegmans’ weekly specials go online, with a feature that allows customers to build a shopping list by store layout.
Wegmans Menu Magazine debuts.
Wegmans receives the Golden Shopping Cart Award for Best Supermarket
Wegmans’ company positioning statement is enhanced to reflect the company’s goal of bringing customers consistent low prices. This new way of doing business affects all departments and all stores. Beginning in April, a campaign to introduce the new lower prices includes videos mailed to Wegmans shoppers and signage throughout the stores.
Robert Wegman announces a two-year, $10 million gift to Aquinas Institute. Half of the money is used for capital improvements the remaining half to provide tuition assistance to families in need.
Wegmans opens its first full-service restaurant, Tastings, at the Pittsford store. (Closes in 2009.)
Wegmans Brand Organic products are introduced.
Danny Wegman is named one of the Power Players–People Whose Actions Drive the Food Industry” in the July issue of Supermarket News. The list includes retailers, wholesalers, mass merchants and manufacturers. In an article profiling Danny, Supermarket News states that he was chosen because he is “an innovator and advocate for bettering the industry through technology.”
Wegmans is awarded the prestigious Black Pearl award. This honor is given to “a company for its efforts in advancing food safety and quality through consumer programs, employee relations, educational activities and adherence to standards.”
Wegmans is named the “Most Family-Friendly Supermarket in America” according to Child magazine.
Wegmans enters the Virginia market with the opening of Wegmans Dulles.
Wegmans also opens a Retail Service Center in Pottsville, PA. This new state-of-the-art distribution point outside of Rochester helps serve Wegmans’ market expansion in the Mid-Atlantic region and houses a 115,000 square foot fresh produce facility. A 300,000 square foot dry grocery center is added in 2005, and a 492,000 square foot refrigerated and frozen facility is added in 2012.
Robert Wegman is named to the Junior Achievement National Business Hall of Fame. Junior Achievement has been honoring the nation’s most distinguished businessmen and women for “their outstanding contributions to free enterprise and the promise of a better, stronger society” for nearly 30 years. Mr. Wegman is only the third Rochester-area business leader to receive this honor. George Eastman (Eastman Kodak) and Joseph C. Wilson (Xerox) received the award posthumously.
Wegmans is selected to receive a 2004 Innovation Award by the Great Place to Work Institute. Wegmans is being honored for credibility, which the institute attributes to the company’s “innovative communication practices.” Specific programs mentioned are full-time orientation, top management spending time in the stores, employee focus groups, Jack’s Idea Exchange, Meeting in a Box, and The Merchant newsletter.
Wegmans is named the #1 company to work for by FORTUNE Magazine’s list of the Best Companies to Work For.”
Robert Wegman donates $5 million to St. John Fisher College in Rochester for the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, which opens in fall 2006 for students looking to pursue a career in pharmacy.
Wegmans Hunt Valley becomes Wegmans’ 69th store and the first for the state of Maryland.
Wegmans announces the closing of the Chase-Pitkin Home and Garden Centers
Robert Wegman names Colleen president and Danny CEO.
St. John Fisher College announces an $8 million gift from Robert Wegman to be used to fund the Wegmans School of Nursing.
Robert B. Wegman dies. Mr. Wegman was the son of Wegmans Food Markets co-founder Walter Wegman and was a pioneer of the one-stop shopping concept. Until his death, he was the Wegmans chairperson. In more than a half century under his leadership, the family grocery business grew into one of the largest private companies in the United States.
The Wegmans Organic Farm in Canandaigua, NY has its first growing season. The 50-acre farm operates with the following mission statement: “Following our customers’ desire for fresh produce that is both organic and locally grown, we operate our organic farm to develop and share best practices with our customers and partner-growers. We continually work to grow the best-tasting varieties and extend growing seasons, making local farms more economically sustainable.”
Wegmans wins the 2007 Food Network Award for “SUPER Market – presented to the grocery chain that has changed the way we shop.”
Agreement is reached to sell the Wegmans Egg Farm to Kreher’s Farm Fresh Eggs, based in Clarence, NY. Kreher’s continues to produce eggs for Wegmans at the Wolcott farm. Kreher’s is a family-owned farm run today by the third generation of the Kreher family.
Robert Wegman is named to the inaugural Supermarket News Hall of Fame. “(Robert) Wegman created true differentiation with massive, one-stop-shopping supermarkets and an approach to employment that stands alone in the industry.”
Wegmans introduces the Half-Plate Healthy concept to employees. In 2010, it’s shared with customers.
Wegmans announces the decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products, and introduces a smoking cessation program for employees. “We have come to this decision after thinking about the role smoking plays in people’s health. We certainly respect a person’s right to smoke, but we believe there are few of us who would introduce our children to smoking. The main reason we have come to this decision is that we truly care about each of you,” said Danny Wegman.
J.D. Power and Associates announces the results of its 2008 National Pharmacy Study, which ranks the Wegmans Pharmacy #1 in Customer Satisfaction among supermarket pharmacies in the northeast. The comprehensive study is based on interviews with more than 15,000 pharmacy consumers across the U.S. JDPA is a global marketing information firm that conducts independent and unbiased surveys of customer satisfaction.
Wegmans establishes the Organic Farm Partner Program.
Wegmans’ Culinary Innovation Center opens to develop new products for customers.
Wegmans opens a new store in Collegeville, PA. It’s the first store to introduce a full-service restaurant inside the Market Café, called The Pub.
Next Door by Wegmans opens on Monroe Ave. across the street from the Pittsford store. The restaurant seats approximately 270, including the bar, lounge, and private rooms, with outdoor patio seating for 44. The crew from Tastings restaurant moves to Next Door. Features include a more spacious bar area, a roomier main dining room with an incredible menu, a sushi bar, four separate rooms for private parties and an expansive selection of beer, wine and specialty drinks.
Rochester Business Journal (RBJ) readers select Danny Wegman as CEO of the decade. RBJ chose from a list of CEOs from companies based in Rochester or originally founded in Rochester with major operations there.
The first ripe cherry and grape tomatoes are picked on May 21 at Wegmans Organic Farm, just two months after the young tomato plants were put in the ground in March. The arrival of these “baby” tomatoes weeks earlier than their usual “due date” generated a lot of buzz at the farm as it continues its mission to extend the growing season in the northeast.
Wegmans Menu Magazine celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Design, typography and layouts are tweaked for the special issue, giving the magazine a fun, fresh look. For the first time, the magazine features QR (Quick Response) codes for smart-phone users.
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announces the Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Each year, the award recognizes “a food retailer or wholesaler who exercises entrepreneurial leadership in the design of retail strategies and imaginative merchandising.” In making the announcement, Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI, said “This award is named in honor of Robert B. Wegman, whose half century leadership of Wegmans Food Markets was marked by a creative retail savvy that grew the Wegman family grocery business into one of the largest privately-held companies in the United States.”
Wegmans opens its first New England store in Northborough, Massachusetts. The store is located approximately 36 miles west of Boston and five miles east of Worcester.
The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation contributes $1 million to help fund an education and research center at the Rochester Institute of Technology, dedicated to the development and use of sustainable packaging. The Center is a testing ground for new ideas and solutions for students, researchers, faculty and corporate partners that are interested in sustainable packaging. It also educates the next generation of packaging professionals who are intent on bringing sustainable principles to manufacturers around the world.
Wegmans opens new East Ave. store in Rochester, NY along with Amore Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar.
The Wegmans Pharmacy begins home shipping and mail orders.
Wegmans opens the Cheese Caves, a one-of-a-kind, high-tech building that mimics the environments of famed cheese caves in Europe, where many of the world’s most-prized cheeses are ripened to reach their richest flavor.
Wegmans is one of the first supermarkets in the country to accept Apple Pay mobile payments through iPhones.
Wegmans is ranked number one for corporate reputation among the 100 most visible companies, according to the 16th annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient® (RQ) study.
The Wegmans Employee Scholarship Program reaches a major milestone. Since it began in 1984, more than 32,000 Wegmans employees have been awarded scholarships totaling $100 million.
Wegmans announces plans for a store at Admirals Row in Brooklyn NY, which becomes a trending topic on social media and garners a lot of attention.
J.D. Power and Associates 2015 U.S. Pharmacy Study ranks Wegmans Pharmacy “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Supermarket Pharmacies.” August 2015. Wegmans received the highest numerical score among supermarket pharmacies in the proprietary J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Pharmacy StudySM. Study based on 14,914 total responses, and measures 11 supermarket pharmacies. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed May-June 2015. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com
Danny Wegman announced that his daughter, Colleen Wegman, has been named president and CEO of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., and he will assume the title of chairman.
Wegmans has won dozens of awards and distinctions for making the shopping experience better, and for treating customers, employees, and communities in an exemplary manner.
Here are the highlights:
Excellence as an Employer
Dale Carnegie Training gives Wegmans the Dale Carnegie Leadership Award, ‘for its exceptional customer service, development of their people (and) demonstrated dedication to the philosophy and core values (Wegmans) was founded on.’ September 2010
National Down Syndrome Congress gives Wegmans 2012 Employer Award ‘for employing individuals with Down syndrome and providing the necessary supports to ensure positive outcomes.’ July 2012
The National Council on Aging presents Wegmans with its Distinguished Achievement Award for employing senior adults. June 2014
ATHENA International honors Wegmans with the National ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award. The award is presented to organizations that demonstrate professional excellence, give back to the community, and assist women in realizing their full leadership potential. November 2019
Ranked #1 since 2015 on FORTUNEmagazine’s list of the 15 Best Workplaces in Retail.
Wegmans is on Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Best Employers from 2015 through 2020.
FORTUNEnames Wegmans to the magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, every year starting in 1998 through 2021. The company ranked 1 st in 2005 and ranked #4 in 2021.
Excellence in Community Service
School Administrators Association of New York State presents Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. and the Wegman family with its 2011 Friend of Education Award, given to ‘an individual, group, or organization that has consistently contributed to the support and advancement of outstanding public education and the students of New York State.’ April 2011
The Morrie Silver Award is presented to Colleen Wegman at the Rochester Press Radio Club Dinner, an honor bestowed each year on “a person who has shown an exemplary interest in bettering the community through their efforts in the area of sports.” The award recognizes her longstanding support for the Wegmans LPGA Championship. June 2013
Named to PEOPLE magazine’s list of 50 Companies That Care from 2017 through 2020. The list highlights “US companies that have succeeded in business while also demonstrating outstanding respect, care and concern for their employees, their communities and the environment.”
Ranked #1 on The Harris Poll 2018 Societal Return on Investment Index, which measures a company’s corporate reputation for social good. November 2018
Excellence as a Retailer
Danny Wegman is named by Supermarket News to its list of 50 Power Players, the most influential people in food retailing. 2003 through 2014
BusinessWeek magazine includes Wegmans in its list of 25 Customer Service Superstars. The list includes standouts from a wide range of industries, including luxury hotels, restaurants, banks, and automotive companies. February 2010
Named to Ethisphere Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012
The University of Rochester awards Danny Wegman the George Eastman Medal, which recognizes achievement and dedicated service. May 2010
Danny Wegman is given the inaugural Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership by the Food Marketing Institute. The award will annually celebrate the food retailer or wholesaler responsible for creating exceptional retail innovations. January 2012
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) presents Danny Wegman with its highest honor, the 2013 Hall of Achievement award, given “to individuals who have had a strong and lasting impact on the food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry.” January 2013
GS1, a global information standards organization, gives Danny Wegman its Lifetime Achievement Award “for outstanding contributions to the advancement and adoption of GS1 Standards, the most broadly used supply chain standards globally.” May 2013
The Boston Consulting Group names Wegmans to its 2013 list of Most Recommended Brands, “in recognition of the company’s superior ability to attract word-of-mouth recommendation.” December 2013
The 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend study, which measures brand equity, names Wegmans Northeast Brand of the Year in the Grocery Store Category. July 2014
American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) release study ranking customer satisfaction at retailers across six channels. Wegmans ranked highest among supermarkets and received the highest score across all retail channels. February 2016
A survey of more than 12,000 consumers nationwide conducted by Market Force Information ranks Wegmans #1 – America’s Favorite Supermarket. June 2018
Glassdoor includes Colleen Wegman on its Best CEOs List. 2018 and 2019
Wegmans is ranked #1 for Corporate Reputation among the most visible companies,’ nationwide according to the 2019 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient ® study. February 2019
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