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Yates: Jewelry and diamond specialists

There is a store tucked in the corner of a shopping center in Modesto called Yates and Co. Jewelers where they promise to provide customers with the “finest jewelry at an honest price.”

Ron Yates has been in the jewelry business since 1988 and, in 1999, he created his first website to sell rare coins which led him to the idea to create a website for jewelry as well.

“That (website) keeps us pretty busy,” stated Yates. “So if they (customers) are not coming in the store we are helping them with live chat, phone calls, and online orders.”

The ecommerce business has expanded the customer base to include people from all over and has been very successful for Yates and Co.

Recently, Yates was working on a custom design of a men’s wedding band with a customer from New Hampshire.

There were a few years Yates recalled when their ecommerce business was booming and they had 100 packages on the delivery truck. The online business has changed since then with Internet giants like Amazon that are on the scene.

After working at a jewelry store in the evenings while he was going to college, Yates continued to work with jewelry evaluating collections along with buying and selling coins.

The man that Yates was working for left abruptly and advised him to open his own business.

“So I did. I didn’t have any money so I got creative financing and ended up getting enough money to buy a case, a sign, a safe, a desk and a couple showcases,” added Yates. “My first month I had an armed robbery. They cleaned me out.”

Two men entered his store and held him at gunpoint and took everything that he had. He was told to lie on the floor and one of the suspects had a gun to the back of his head.

“If the gun hadn’t jammed he would have shot me,” said Yates. “They had just gotten out of jail for burglary like a month before in Modesto.

“It scared the daylights out of me.”

This led Yates to be very security conscious so the store has security cameras everywhere, inside and out, a door buzzer, holdup alarms and more, along with staff always using good common sense.

The jewelry store is a family affair with wife Mechelle as the Graduate Gemologist and jewelry appraiser, daughter Ashton as the Creative Director and Accredited Jewelry Professional, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified, and cousin Scott Mackey, who is the Store Manager and Diamond Expert, GIA certified as well.

Mechelle is also a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

Yates buys and sells diamonds as well as antique jewelry with pieces that are about 100 years old. He also designs men’s jewelry with a variety of metals like titanium, rose gold, meteorite, tungsten, sterling silver, gold, and white gold.

He will soon have a new line of custom designed men’s rings out for customers that will be made with different materials like dinosaur bone.

“We really are the best place locally to buy diamonds,” said Yates. “When customers are shopping for diamonds we will provide the education on what determines the diamond’s value, its beauty, we will show you two diamonds side by side, you don’t get that on the Internet.”

Along with designing custom pieces for their customers Yates and Co. also buys gold.

Yates and Co. Jewelers specializes in vintage diamond engagement rings from the early 1900s, designer jewelry and custom designed pieces.

“We love helping folks take their idea and creating a one of a kind piece,” said Yates. “We also love sharing our knowledge of diamonds and gemstones with customers.”

Yates & Co. Jewelers is located at 3501 McHenry Ave., #18, Modesto. For more information, visit

or call 800-370-2646.