Jewels of Old New York: Thriving Jewelry Companies in 1919

JCK celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1919.

For those of you doing the math, that’s 94 years ago!

At the time of the milestone, the magazine was known as The Jewelers’ Circular. It published a beautiful anniversary issue highlighting jewelers in cities across the United States that were in business when the magazine started in 1869, and were still in business in 1919.

For the next several weeks, I’ll feature some of those stories, starting with the New York City jewelers that thrived during JCK’s first 50 years.

James H. Dederick & Co., 1869

J.H. Dederick’s Sons, 1919

“One of the few houses in Maiden Lane that can trace its history back in the one family for nearly 75 years through two generations of one family and in all that time occupy but one location, is J.H. Dederick’s Sons, assayers and refiners, at 16 Maiden Lane.

The was founded in 1845 under the style of Dederick, Sears & Co., but in 1869 was known under the style of James H. Dederick & Co. Mr. Dederick died in 1896, since which time the business has been continued by his two sons, Frank and James E.”

Maiden Lane in the 1870s

Louis Bornemann, 1869

Louis Bornemann’s Sons, 1919

“The firm of Louis Bornemann’s Sons, makers of diamond jewelry, 106 Fulton St., is among the concerns which date back for a period of 50 years or more.

Louis Bornemann started in business in 1857 at the corner of Cortlandt St. and Broadway, in the building then known as the Gilsey building, which was later called the Benedict building. He remained there for 24 years.

Louis Bornemann died Nov. 8, 1901, and the business was succeeded to his two sons Charles A. and Henry, who had been associated with their father for 40 and 36 years, respectively. The firm has continued to make fine diamond jewelry and to handle the finest quality of precious stones. This concern is among those which have been subscribers to The Jewelers’ Circular since it was first published.”

Maiden Lane in 1894

A. Frankfield, 1869

A. Frankfield & Co., 1919

“The retail jewelry business of A. Frankfield & Co., at 38 W. 34 St., is a continuation of the business originally established by the present proprietor, Adolph Frankfield, in 1856.

Mr. Frankfield was at one time prominenantly identified with the retail trade when located in 14th St., and he had as partners at various times his brother-in-law and sons. The business was continued extensively until about 1912.

His last partners were his sons Hugo and Emil. Hugo withdrew in 1911 and Emil died in 1912. For awhile the business was under a trusteeship, which was terminated, and Adolph Frankfield took it over and is the proprietor of the same today and in active charge, though over 90 years of age.”

Maiden Lane in 1919

Ball, Black & Co., 1869

Black, Starr & Frost, 1919

“The oldest jewelry firm in this city was founded by Isaac Marquand in 1810. The store was a little shop at 166 Broadway, near Maiden Lane, where Mr. Marquand was joined by one Erastus Barton, an Englishman who had wona an enviable reputation in both London and New York as a designer of silverware and jewelry. Today, the concern, is located at Fifth Avenue and 48th St.

When this business was founded James Madison was President of the United States. The War of 1812 had not begun. The population of New York City was about 96,000 or less than that of Albany today (1919). At the time the site of the old Astor House, which was not built until 20 years later, was considered uptown, being virtually in the suburbs of New York.”