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Well-Known NC Jeweler Gene Starnes Dies at 82

‘Gene’s contributions to Albemarle and Stanly County are immeasurable and his presence will be missed by all.’




Gene Starnes, who operated Starnes Jewelers in Albemarle, NC, for several decades, died on Jan. 29.

He was 82, the Stanly News & Press reports.

Starnes retired in 2022. His brother-in-law, Chris Bramlett, took over ownership and the store rebranded as Starnes Bramlett Jewelers. Bramlett was a longtime certified gemologist appraiser at the store.

Well-Known NC Jeweler Gene Starnes Dies at 82

Gene Starnes, 1941-2024

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the store stated: “Gene spent nearly his entire life here at the store. He spent countless hours, here as a youth while his father ran the business. He began working here full-time in the 1960s, after college, and became sole owner in 1976 after his father passed away.”

His contributions to Albemarle and Stanly County “are immeasurable and his presence will be missed by all,” according to the post.


The store wrote: “We would be honored if anyone would like to share any special memories of time you might have spent with Gene over the years. Please feel free to add them in the comments to this post, send us an email to, or if you happen to live nearby, please feel free to stop by and share any memories with us here at the store. News of a service for Gene will be shared as our family works out the details.”

Upon taking over the store in 2022, Bramlett told the Stanly News & Press: “Everywhere I go people search me out and tell me how pleased they are that Starnes Bramlett is here and that we’re going to be the same jewelry store that they have been accustomed to all their lives.”



Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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