Monahan & Co. to Close After More Than 200 Years in Business

One of the oldest jewelry stores in the country, Monahan & Co. in Harwich, Mass., is closing its doors after more than 200 years in business.

NBC Boston reports that current owner Michael Monahan has decided to shutter the iconic shop. He will retire.

Celebrities including Muhammad Ali and John F. Kennedy have shopped at Monahan’s, which opened in 1815, when Michael’s great-great-great-grandfather, Jeremiah Monahan, left his job as a goldsmith in Dublin and eventually opened a shop in Worcester, Mass. The War of 1812 had just ended, and there was a proposal for New England to secede from the Union!

Monahan Fine Jewelers
A drawing of Monahan Fine Jewelers in the 1800s

The Irish founder is credited with introducing Americans to the claddagh ring, which symbolizes friendship, loyalty, and love. (Generations later, Michael Monahan presented a claddagh ring to Ronald Reagan after the president’s trip to Ireland.)

Monahan told the news outlet that he will miss working with longtime clients, but noted that online shopping has made it difficult to sustain a brick-and-mortar business.

The store’s longevity has made it the scene of a few major crimes: There’s the unsolved case of a stolen gold leprechaun statue (“There’s still a $1,000 reward to get him back,” Monahan told NBC) and a terrifying robbery in 1993 that Michael noted was “the largest in Cape Cod’s history,” with more than $500,000 in merchandise plundered.

The retailer’s partner, Neal Waters, recently passed away, and Monahan said his daughter isn’t interested in sustaining the business as a physical store.

The store will close for good at the end of September. “That’s what I’m going to miss the most, the people,” Monahan told NBC. “But it’s time for me to play golf.”

Top: Michael Monahan of Monahan & Co. in Harwich, Mass. (courtesy of Monahan & Co.)

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JCK Magazine Editor