Alexandre's Fine Jewelry has been a fixture in downtown San Benito and downtown Harlingen for decades. However, the family business traces its beginnings to a jewelry store Jose L. Alexandre (1926-2005) and his older brothers opened in Mexico City in 1946. According to his son Robert, Jose moved to Mexico at the age of 5 after his mother passed away. As a teenager, he apprenticed with a master watchmaker, before he too became a watchmaker and jeweler.
In the early 1950s, Jose returned to the United States and met his future wife, Petra in San Benito, Texas. After doing watch and jewelry repair for other businesses, including Zale's and J.C. Penney, he decided to open Joe Alexandre Watch & Jewelry Repair in San Benito on West Robertson Street in 1958. In the 1970s and 1980s, they opened five additional stores: two in Harlingen, one in Raymondville, and two in Brownsville. For various reasons, including economic recessions, changes in the industry, and corporate competition, several of these locations closed over the years.
Today, Alexandre's has two locations: one in San Benito, at 124 S. Sam Houston Blvd., and one in Downtown Harlingen, at 202 E. Jackson. The Downtown Harlingen store has been in the same location since 1982. All six of Jose and Petra's children have worked in or managed the family's jewelry stores over the years. In addition to offering an array of fine jewelry, Alexandre's has long been known for other services such as custom jewelry design, appraisals, jewelry and watch repair, silver restoration, engraving, custom trophies and awards, and more recently, custom-imprinted items. Employees like watch repairman Andy Ybarra have been with Alexandre's for more than 40 years.
Today, Alexandre's is run by Joe and Petra's children. Before she died, Matriarch Petra V. Alexandre continued to be a fixture at the shop's Harlingen location, where she would visit with long-time customers and string and knot pearl necklaces the "old school" way, one by one.