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Our History

As we all know small family owned businesses are the cornerstone of America and symbolize the American dream. Cashing out his 401K and borrowing $50,000 of jewelry from a friend who owned a jewelry store, and $50000 from his dad, Borthwick Jewelry, Inc. was founded on March 3rd 1997 in Main Street Ferndale, Wa. Starting on a shoe string budget, Tom Borthwick drove up and down I-5 in search of jewelry store displays at the company called Best, whose locations were going out of business. Tom Borthwick found used showcases, used jewelry displays, used mirror wall to hold figurines, ring boxes that had Best's logo inside (to save money Tom printed his name using publisher and with double sided tape, taped his logo over the Best logo.)

History of Tom Borthwick

When opening the store Tom knew he needed a logo, a slogan, and a goal. Tom decided the logo should be a side view of a diamond. For a slogan Tom pictured his bald headed dad going into a mall jeweler and asking how much the diamond cost. Tom visualized his father with red veins pumping out of his head because the price was so much. Tom thought to himself, what would an old man remember as he's walking out of the expensive jewelry store? Diamond King! Maybe his dad would think to himself, Havent I heard of a Diamond King around here?" So this slogan and logo was made into a ring, that said "Diamond King".

Tom is Scottish and was taught how to be frugal by his father who was raised during the Depression. Tom always wants a discount when he buys something, so he uses this philosophy when he sells jewelry. Basically, don't get greedy. With these morals and thoughts deciding on our goal was very easy and only took five minutes.

"Our goal is to provide you with friendly, knowledgeable an honest service, while selling high quality jewelry for less"

Tom learned from watching other businesses that working more than five days a week is bad. So having Wednesdays and Sundays off worked best. On Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, Tom would work alone. Hehe it got fun when 4 customers would walk in at once. Tom would cheerfully say, "Someone will be right with you", knowing to himself it would be him. Trying to be helpful Tom would show and sell jewelry to 4 different customers at once.

Many people remember Tom with a bull horn in front of his store on Main Street. He would wait for cars to get stopped at the red light, then he would use his bull horn and say " She looks like she needs diamond earrings!!! PULL OVER, PULL OVER" Waving his arms to pull over and park. People would laugh, but little did they know, money was tight and Borthwick Jewelry was trying to survive. Also, Tom frequently made a balloon arch using his helium tank that would attract customer as the wind tended to make it arch over the cars parked at the red light.

Also, the reason Borthwick Jewelry carried figurines was to take up room in the showcases as Borthwick Jewelry's inventory was very small. Every two feet in the show case, Tom would put a figurine followed by three rings and then another figurine and a few more pieces of jewelry and then another figurine, this way his cases didn't look empty.

In the late 1990's Borthwick Jewelry won business of the month every year for several years. In 2000 Borthwick Jewelry had a team participating in the Ski to Sea Race and came in 14th out of well over 100 teams. In 2001 Tom Borthwick won business man of the year from the Ferndale Record Journal.

Tom Borthwick's History

Tom Borthwick Business Person

From 1999 to 2003, Borthwick Jewelers took part in many of Whatcom County's parades, providing a fabulous float of a large castle on top of a diamond mine. Tom dressed as a diamond king and his daughter and friends dressed as gem fairies. Ray Straka acted as Merlin the Magician ever since Tom has been known as "The Diamond King." In 2000 the float came in 2nd out of 109 floats in the Ski to Sea parade.



Every year the store would sell more jewelry and every year Borthwick Jewelry reinvested its money to modernize and update their store and inventory. Borthwick's found success, except for in 2005, when a massive construction project began on Main St. Tom decided to move the store to Idaho. After being in gone for only 8 months Tom and his family missed their lives in the great North West and reopened the store in the cost cutter shopping center back in good old Ferndale. The funny part is that the customers missed Tom as much as he missed them that to this day people talk about the move like he was gone for many years.

In 2010 we decided to give the store an update. We got all new carpet and beautiful dark oak showcases. The new showcases gave us 20 feet of space to enlarge our bridal department, now our happy couples can sit down on the new rolling benches that Tom's father built and pick out the perfect wedding ring. This past summer we have continued to give the store a new looks, by giving it a fresh coat of bright green paint and custom built wall shelving that match the cases. This is where we house the geode collection that Tom handpicked at the Tucson gemshow. The shelf also gave us the space to bring in a new Casio watch line. The store has also received new full length mirrors, with new witty signage.

Continuing to grow in 2014 Tom hired Max Orrantia-Pieper, his step-son, to be assistant manager and apprentice jeweler. With Max's help the store gets repairs done faster and sales have improved. Tom feels very lucky that someone might want to take over the store someday. In 2016 Borthwick Jewelry got remodeled again. A fancy carpet usually found in casinos and new paint make the store look very classy. Also one more safe was added, so now Borthwick Jewelry has three safes so that they can lock up everything at night and not worry.More shelves were built for the geodes and more signs were picked out to describe services provided.

In 2016 and 2017, sales have been astonishing better. Tom and Max attribute the rise in sales to better trained sales staff, Max working full time as an apprentice jeweler, larger inventory, good advertising, and mainly friendly helpful customer service.

"We care about our customer and our customer know we care".

"If our customers have a problem with our jewelry, we fix it."

"Not only do we fix it, we happily fix it with a smile".

"Thank you everybody for shopping here".

Tom Borthwick
The Diamond King