38 of the veteran jewelry stores were established in the 19th century, meaning that they have been around for more than 118 years. The oldest store in the US is Merkley Kendrick Jewelers, opened in 1832 in Louisville, Kentucky. The store is a family-owned business, which has alone gone through some financial troubles and challenges over the years. It closed its doors several times, once after the 1929 stock market crash and the depression that followed. The store survived some failed partnerships, and despite everything – it persevered. “It is very satisfying to continue to serve generations of families in the community and have them choose as our jewelers. This is why I love doing what I do,” says Brian Merkley, the CEO and President of the oldest jewelry company.
The “Youngest” Store on the List
The “youngest” veteran store is Baker and Baker Jewelers in Marietta, Ohio, which was founded in 1918 and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018. Baker and Baker started off as a small store, and with time grew to become a major retailer that sells numerous brands. On its website, the company states that its mission “has always been a tradition of trust, high ethical standards, knowledge of our jewelry products and services, fair pricing and value to our customers”.
The oldest jewelry stores are located in 24 US states, and are therefore spread out rather than concentrated in a small number of states. The highest concentration is in Texas and Illinois, with four veteran jewelry stores in each.
The American Jewelers Association
The American Jewelers Association was established in 1906 by jewelers and for jewelers, for the purpose of promoting professionalism and ethics in the industry. The association has more than 8,000 members from all over the US, including independent store owners, chain stores, jewelry makers, jeweler retailers, designers and service providers. The data provided in this article is based on the data of the JA.