Remembering Ernest Perry, longtime philanthropist and business owner


July 28, 2023

Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry announced the passing of its co-founder on Monday, July 24.

Ernest “Ernie” Perry got his start in the jewelry business as manager of a jewelry store at SouthPark Mall in the 1970s. By 1978, Perry and his wife, Priscilla, established their own jewelry company, Perry’s Jewelry Emporium, and opened a store inside the mall in 1981.

Perry, who became known as “the jeweler’s jeweler,” was trusted resource in a competitive industry. Even more, he was a community leader and giver outside the walls of the family-owned business, Perry’s Diamonds & Estate Jewelry, located on Carnegie Boulevard since 2012.

One of his great gifts, was getting the crowd excited as he volunteered as an auctioneer at countless charity events and fundraisers over many years. His friendly enthusiasm was contagious. As an auctioneer, Perry helped organizations like the Allegro Foundation, Second Harvest Foodbank of Metrolina, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Patriot Military Family Foundation, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It’s estimated he raised $55 million over the last 45 years. “With an average of $250,000 raised per event, it’s no wonder a Charlotte Observer reporter dubbed Ernie, “Good as Gold,” a statement from Perry’s says.

The statement continues: “Ernie’s honesty and integrity in business, and his loyalty to those who worked for him, is of a type rarely seen in today’s world. Ernie valued the relationships he built with each and every one of his customers and vendors and impressed upon his staff the importance of treating everyone with respect, kindness, and dignity.”

A Celebration of Life will be held for Ernie in August. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to a charitable organization of their choosing in his memory. Memories and condolences can also be shared online at

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