H1912, New Hamilton Jewelers Boutique, Offers Quality Selection of Vintage Choices
Hamilton Jewelers has been a showcase — not only for quality — but for a family-owned and operated business since its founding in 1912.
It is a true success story. Guided by former owner the late Irving Siegel, his son Martin Siegel, and now Irving’s grandson Hank Siegel, president and CEO, it continues to thrive. In an age when many establishments no longer stand the test of time, this is a special achievement.
As Martin Siegel has noted, “I started to help my dad in the business when I was 12 years old. I never thought of doing anything else. I came into the business formally in 1955, and now my son Hank is president and CEO. It has meant more than I ever expected to have the family business continue. It’s the dream of a father, passed on to a son and grandson.”
And now, in addition to Hamilton’s four stores in Princeton, Red Bank, Palm Springs, and Palm Springs Gardens in Florida, H1912, has recently opened in the former location of Forest Jewelers at 104 Nassau Street. The focus is on vintage and estate jewelry.
“We saw an opportunity in the market to emphasize our one-of-a-kind vintage pieces,” explains Anne Russell, Hamilton’s vice president, merchandising. “This space gave us a chance to do something different. We have a different product mix in a different environment.”
A “different” look highlights the decor of the new establishment as well, she adds. “We wanted industrial chic, a more modern feeling, which offers a nice juxtaposition to the vintage jewelry.”
Gray tones predominate in the store, including the floor, walls, and ceiling. Track lighting offers a contrast to a more elaborate chandelier, and overall, there is a nice sense of space, which is enhanced by the sleek and modern emphasis in the relatively small setting. The store is appealing on many levels, and accessible on many levels.
Displays are attractively presented, and include “walk-up” cases. “They are actually on the wall, explains Ms. Russell, “so you don’t constantly have to look down to see the items.”
The selection includes an array of vintage jewelry and watches, with rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces all on display. “Each piece is unique, and each has a story and a history,” reports Ms. Russell. “They’re telling the story of a period. Everything is authenticated and restored, and like antiques, they get better with time!”
There is a nice mix of items, she adds. “We have designer pieces and precious jewelry in all categories. Signed pieces, Victorian pieces, and Art Deco and Art Nouveau are all represented.”
Strand of Pearls
Categories are conveniently identified for customers according to age and period: Art Nouveau 1839-1905; Art Deco 1915-1935; Contemporary 1980-current. Each piece has been inspected by a jewelry or watch professional, issued a certificate of authenticity, and given a one-year warranty.
Whether a customer is looking for a strand of pearls with matching earrings, a classic cameo, a Chanel gold bracelet, or an engagement ring, H1912 can provide a number of choices.
“The most popular time to get engaged is right before Christmas,” points out Ms. Russell. “We have engagement rings in all styles and at all price points, including from $595.”
In addition, she reports, giving an older piece a new look is often popular with customers. For example, converting pins and brooches into pendants is highly desirable now. “It’s a special way you can make the piece your own.”
Among H1912’s vintage selection are such items as a Chanel gold tone charm bracelet, Chanel gold tone pendant, signed Cartier 18k gold Figaro necklace, and 14k gold and blue cameo ring, among many other choices.
Men’s jewelry, including vintage rings and bracelets, is also available, as is a large selection of watches from Tag Heuer, Rolex, Cartier, Breitling, and Hermes. Women’s watches are also offered.
H1912 also has a selection of found objects, including an antique farm table and a rustic oversized antique wall clock.
Ms. Russell adds that the store has a service department, offering jewelry and watch repair and cleaning. “We also buy pieces from people who are interested in selling an older item. We are so encouraged with the response to the store in all areas. All ages are coming in, and many people say the store reminds them of New York.”
She adds that being part of Hamilton and the new store is very special for her. “I’ve been with Hamilton for eight years, and it has been a privilege. I have learned so much from them. Jewelry is important. It’s given for an occasion, a special moment in life. A birthday, an engagement, an anniversary. And it can be passed down from generation to generation. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate these special moments with customers. We are really about making people happy here.
“We also have a wonderful team — very energetic and knowledgeable. Jayne Hernandez, our store director, is an expert, and we all do our best to help the customers.”
In addition Hamilton has long been active in supporting the community, she notes. “They have always been very committed to giving back. This store features a different charity each month throughout the year, and a portion of every sale goes to that charity.”
Ms. Russell looks forward to continuing the Hamilton tradition in all ways, and is sure that H1912 will become a mainstay of that tradition.
“I do want to encourage customers to come in often,” she adds. “We get a new piece every day, and each has a story. And because everything has been so popular, something that is here today may be gone tomorrow!”
H1912 is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday until 8, and Sunday 12 to 5. (609) 924-1363. Website: www.h1912.com.