Spence Diamonds – The Domain, Austin, Texas

Spence Diamonds The Domain Austin retail design JGA

JGA created a fresh approach to the jewelry environment through a disruptive and intriguing experience.
Spence Diamonds The Domain Austin retail design JGA

Spence Diamonds challenges many of the paradigms of traditional jewelry shopping. The new innovative store concept pairs a fun, transparent and educational experience with a breakthrough product offer – Spence Artisan Created Diamonds™, where touch elements of try-and-select are featured in the open access bridal area.  Key elements of the store include an extensive bridal bar (over 100 linear feet), product organized along the lines of aesthetics and emotion; featuring open-sell product within a floating open case display, and a highly sculpted surface texture that reinforces the molecular and unique structure of the facets of a diamond itself. Spence believes that the cut and reflectivity are key elements of the diamond, so through the subtle yet dramatic use of texture and pattern within the hand-cut interlocking marble floor tiles, the plaster and resin decorative wall panels, and even the sculpted shapes of the store’s pedestal display cases.
Spence Diamonds The Domain Austin retail design JGA
The dynamic “sculpted” character of the crafting of a diamond from a raw and unrefined “found” shape to a beautiful, sparkling and refractive finished diamond shape. By reinforcing the disruptive nature of the store, the extensive use of digital, and unconventional, yet more consumer-friendly floor plan, the new space is digitally and visually dynamic and firmly positioned in the direction of new luxury.

The store experience dispenses with many of the elements of hierarchy, formality, and associate-and-guest separation, through a less structured and more organic approach to the forward-design aesthetic. The positioning of fixtures, and the open and accessible bridal merchandise, is at the core of the Spence experience. A spacious lounge space acts as the store’s “living room,” an alternative, more casual consulting environment. This gathering space for a family of decision-makers provides shoppers a moment to reconnect comfortably. A discrete POS podium is located adjacent to the lounge, and is completed with most transactions using wireless devices; eliminating the intimidation and formality of a traditional cash wrap approach.

Consulting spaces, with their sculpted consultation surfaces, electrically induced “clouding” effects, and simple but dramatic exotic wood accent walls, provide a private and comfortable space, reinforcing the unique approach that Spence Diamonds takes to procuring, crafting and creating diamonds and beautifully crafted jewelry. Sales associates have the ability to take control of what appears on the screen by connecting a sales tablet. With the ever increasing role of social media in communicating brand, offer and generation, the integration of digital media to complement the guest’s personal media is an increasingly important tool.
Spence Diamonds The Domain Austin retail design JGA
At Spence Diamonds, in-store digital further connects the customer, provides continuity with their out-of-store experience, and serves to attract and engage guests from the storefront, within key merchandising product areas, and the store’s lounge environment. Unique applications ranging from the approach to configuration of screens, to a series of screen overlays, assures that the graphical aspects of visualized use of digital are unique and proprietary to Spence with a strong sense of integration.  The complement of digital with traditional luxury materials results in an environment that is both progressive and premium.

Multiple digital experiences paired with custom audio zones and experiential HD media content allowed Spence to create a digitally-enabled, one-of- a-kind experience, starting from the store entrance where front window displays of four 46” 4K displays arranged in the shape of a diamond conveys Spence’s brand identity with captivating 4K content. At the back of the store an 85” 4K display with a Plexiglas panel overlay has programmable LED strips. Multiple 40” 4K displays also enhance the bridal wall area. These digital displays lead customers to engage, ask to learn more, browse merchandise and connect with a sales associate.


The variety of texture finishes from the polished floor, to the matte and honed bases of the sculpted cases, are enhanced by lighting effects that include LED stem lights, recessed cove ceiling lighting that emits light both to enhance the cove geometry of the ceiling, but as well the product below, up-lighting detail around the perimeter of the store, and decorative fixtures and elements within the space’s “living room” areas. The extensive use of digital signage adds energy and animation, but also provides a closer view focusing on the transformative quality from found artisanal created product, to a ring through the use of natural images (the opening of a flower or the emerging of a butterfly) that reinforces the narrative around the “birth” of an artisanal stone into a uniquely crafted diamond stone.

Marketing strategy

Spence Diamonds is a “disruptive” player in an industry that is burdened with traditions related to the sales process, product, and even customer perception. Spence takes a fresh approach in all these areas, through a unique and proprietary approach to finding the “perfect” diamond with perfection defined around price, product, and person, and in a way that provides the customer with an opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind, personalized outcome to meet their budget, exceeding consumer expectations. Their pricing is explained and displayed transparently, so consumers know upfront what is perfect for their budget and taste. The store encourages a relaxed feel, promoting an experience that is fun and contemporary.  Spence Artisan Diamonds are ‘grown’ in a laboratory using an incredibly advanced scientific process that replicates how diamonds naturally develop when they form beneath the Earth’s crust. In this highly controlled environment, plasma energy converts carbon to diamond molecules, one by one, creating a new diamond.

Overcoming Challenges

  1. How to rethink and reimage an experience within an industry that is so ubiquitous and locked in across its approach to presentation, finishing materials and shopper’s journey.
  1. Unlike other jewelry stores that only have facsimile or sample products, or live goods, Spence Diamonds offers a hybrid approach and needs to clearly communicate two distinctive but complementary shopping experiences within in a relatively small space (approx. 2,000 square feet), effectively working for both the bridal destination customer and the more impulsive and spontaneous gift giver.
  2. How to create a unique approach to case structure, fabrication and detailing, particularly with the two types of feature cases that actually required the services of sculptures, fabricators, engineers, including the development and the integration of wireless security and technology and a unique approach to LED and low voltage.


Fixturing details

These unique Fiberglass fixtures were originally developed by JGA, then the fixture manufacturer created a handmade Maquette that was 3-D scanned to produce the life-sized original. It was further shaped into a life-sized master before preparing the final piece.

The drawer faces were also made to make the fixture appear as if the glass floats on top of the fixture. These were hand-carved. The case also has inside 12 Tokistar 5k kelvin lights to power the fixture, and as well, is security controlled with a Dialock system from Germany which operates with a RFID technology..

Project Spence Diamonds
Design Architecture Firm JGA
JGA Team Ken Nisch – Project Principal, George Vojnovski – Project Manager, Michael Curtis – Creative Director
General Contractor Hunter Building Company
Lighting Designers Illuminating Concepts
Photos courtesy Andrew Chan Photography
by AN shopfitting magazine no.138 ©