Our Story

The story of Continental Diamond really began in 1969 when store owners Jimmy and Helain Pesis started dating in High School. And, in August of 1975 they were married. Jimmy’s first job was as a bar manager and then a bar owner, while Helain was a high school special education teacher. Jewelry was never part of their future plans until Jimmy invested with two partners to open a small jewelry store. Small is the keyword!

With his partners, Jimmy painted, carpeted and decorated a very small office space in the lower level of an apartment building in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. Rent was $350 a month. Their inventory included a small selection of gold chains, a few trays of memo jewelry and six diamonds. With this humble beginning, Continental Diamond opened its doors in 1981.

Being an independent spirit, Jimmy bought out his partners early on. In 1994 Helain went from being his life partner to his business partner! Helain’s strengths back then are her key attributes today. As the store’s head buyer, she has a keen eye for breaking fashion and trending designs, interior design and also has inherent creative abilities she brings to the business. Since Helain joined the business, she’s also been the store’s CEO (Chief Executive Organizer), giving the ever-expanding business the structure and infrastructure it needs.

Over the years, growth was achieved with an emphasis on creativity and innovation. Starting in an apartment building and then moving to office buildings as the business grew, Jimmy and Helain never wanted their jewelry store to be a conventional retail space. Always thinking about enhancing the clients’ shopping experience, they had an in-store coffee bar and kids’ playroom years before others began adding these amenities to their stores.

Today, Continental Diamond has grown to be a spacious and welcoming store with the largest selection of owned diamonds in Minnesota. Owning diamonds allows Continental Diamond to pass on the price savings to its clients. The store also features a vast and eclectic selection of jewelry in all price ranges by many jewelry designers and an impressive selection of fine timepieces.

As a full-service jewelry store, Jimmy and Helain have an experienced and a well-educated sales team that includes three GIA Graduate Gemologists and seven GIA Diamond graduates. The store’s repair department is staffed with three jewelers having over 80 years combined experience, (two of which are Master Goldsmiths), four take-in specialists, a custom manufacturing specialist and a watch repair manager.

The sales and repair staff is led by store manager Beth Kato. Along with hiring the store’s incredibly talented career sales and repair staff, Beth has helped instill great values in everything the store’s staff says and does to each other, vendors and of course, Continental Diamond’s clients. And, this is a true family business with Jimmy and Helain’s nephew Andy Furman, their niece Revital Furman and cousin Henni Ettedgui all playing important roles and the faces of the next generation at Continental Diamond.

In addition to carrying a wide range of prominent jewelry designers, Continental Diamond is very well known for its own custom jewelry services. Using the latest state-of-the-art CAD software, Ashley Warmbold, the store’s incredibly talented, very creative designer will guide you through the custom jewelry process, from concept to creation, making a distinctive one-of-a-kind design just for clients.

What makes Continental Diamond Unique?

1. We are charitable and active members of our community.
2. We care more about our customers, employees and vendors.
3. Referrals make us the busiest store in town.
4. We have received many local and national awards and accolades.

At Continental Diamond, customers are often heard saying the store carries the most beautiful selection of fine jewelry and diamonds in the Twin Cities! Every year Jimmy and Helain attend many of the industry’s national and international trade shows. All of the jewelry and diamonds are hand-selected, one piece at a time. Jimmy is the store’s diamond buyer and Helain, as the head jewelry buyer, is always looking for designs that are a step ahead of the day’s leading fashions.

Over the years, Continental Diamond has won numerous local and national awards including being named the best place to buy a gold necklace in “The Bargain Hunters Guide” circa 1985, the best place to buy a diamond by Mpls./St. Paul Magazine in 1995, and 2nd Coolest Store in America by INSTORE magazine in 2003. But the storeowners and their staff are most proud of being awarded Minnesota Brides Magazine’s “Best Jeweler In Minnesota” 7 years in a row (2010-2016)!

But selection, service and awards would not exist without the strong commitment to the store’s core values of honesty, fairness, education and contribution. As a result, Continental Diamond has grown tremendously with thousands of referrals and multiple generations of families shopping here over the years. Customer relationships are paramount for the entire team!

Lastly, Continental Diamond is a very unique jewelry store. When clients celebrate life’s special occasions, there’s often a lot of hugs and even kisses in the store as well as an abundance of positive energy and a real buzz in the air. It’s a unique, happy shopping environment not found at other stores – jewelry or otherwise. People get a good feeling at Continental Diamond and it shows with so many smiles. It’s infectious. Many times during the work week it’s so busy people ask if the store is having a sale!

“So please, we invite you to stop by for a visit. We believe you will agree, Continental Diamond is a great place to shop for jewelry, diamonds and fine timepieces!” – Jimmy and Helain Pesis

Giving Back

Continental Diamond is committed to supporting our local and national community. We proudly align ourselves with hundreds of charitable organizations each year that are committed to making the world a better place.

34th Aviation Brigade
A Better Chance Foundation
ALS Winning for Winston
Alzheimer’s Assoc
Am Cancer-Black Tie Event
Am Diabetes Assoc
American Brain Tumor Assoc
American Heart Association
Angel Foundation
Animal Humane Society
Arthritis Foundation – Justin Morneau Casino Night
Augustana Care Corp
Benefit for Marty Hoffer
Benefit for Rose Senger
Boys & Girls Club
Breast Cancer 3 Day
Campus Crusade Golf Tournament
Cap Agency
Children’s Defense Fund
Children’s Heartlink
Children’s Hospital
Children’s Miracle Network
Children’s Theater Co
Crisis Connection
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
Dollars to Cure Hadassah
Dress For Success
EJ Henderson Youth Foundation
Greg Thomas Cancer Benefit
Hope for the City
Hope Kids-Abigail Taylor
Jewish Comm Relation Council
Katelyn Conrad Benefit
KDWB Charity Event
Kyle Sonnen Benefit
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
March of Dimes-Chefs Auction
MN Vikings/Second Harvest
MN Women Lawyers
MN Zoo Foundation
Minneapolis Jewish Federation
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Muskie Mania
N Dakota Buffalo Foundation
National Concierge Assoc
NFL Alumni Gala
North Memorial Hospice
Orono Hockey Boosters
Pacer Center
Paul Adelman Charity Golf
Paul Douglas Classic/SAVE
Pay It Forward
Phillips Eye Institute
Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic
Power Squadron
Rainbow Families
Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network
Reuben Lindh Family Services
Ronald McDonald House
Room to Read
Rotary Club of St Louis Park
S MN Regional Legal Service
Sarah Stadler Benefit
Scott Sather Memorial Golf
Sholom Community Alliance
Smile Network Int’l
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
St. David’s
St. Gertrude
St. Jude Children’s Hospital
St. Louis Park Crime Prevent
Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk
TC Gay Chours Benefit
The Am Diabetes Assoc
The Jeff Kuennen Foundation
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
United Cerebral Palsy MN
United Hospital Foundation
University Pediatrics Foundation
Vesterheim Norwegian Am Museum
Volunteers of America
Washburn Child Guidance
Wishes & More
YMCA of Metro Minneapolis
YMCA/KFAN-Poker Tournament