Providence Jewelry Museum to Go National, Open to Public

The low-key Providence Jewelry Museum is undergoing an expansion, rechristening itself the National Jewelry Museum and opening to the general public.

Museum president Edward Lemire says that until now, the 30-year-old institution, which traces the history of jewelry making in Rhode Island, only gave private tours.

New plans call for it to change its name, expand from 5,000 square feet to 6,000, move to Providence’s jewelry district, and open itself full-time to the public.

“We are on a mission to make it a bigger, better, permanent, public tourist attraction,” Lemire says.

He also hopes to attract sponsorships and participation from some big jewelry names still connected to Rhode Island, like Tiffany and Swarovski, as well as newcomers like Alex and Ani.

He also plans a world-class retail store that will offer remakes of historic pieces on display and allow visitors to produce custom-made sterling silver jewelry using vintage machines.

The museum began as a hobby for Peter DiCristofaro, a Providence-based jewelry manufacturer who became a broker of distressed machinery. He realized that someone needed to save and preserve all the vintage tools and machinery used to produce jewelry.

As Lemire himself admits, Providence’s jewelry manufacturing sector has shrunk noticeably over the years; even the city’s jewelry district no longer houses many jewelry companies. But he sees the museum as a way to pay tribute to all that bygone ingenuity—and maybe stimulate interest in jewelry manufacturing and the industry as a whole.

“A lot of people had no idea this all went on in the United States,” he says. “This will bring that awareness back.”

(Images courtesy of @provjewelrymuseum and Providence Jewelry Museum)

JCK News Director

4 responses to “Providence Jewelry Museum to Go National, Open to Public”

  1. I applaud the foresight to preserve and offer the public the history and storied significance of Providence’s role in the American jewelry industry. This will be an interesting museum to visit for young and old and they get to make their own piece of jewelry. What a treasure.
    Kenneth Gordon, Atlanta

  2. It is a good idea but I hope its not too little too late. They will need exclusive pieces for sale or something unique to draw a crowd. Tiffany and Swarovski, as well as newcomers like Alex and Ani may help just a bit.

  3. This is tremendous news! I’m so pleased that someone had the foresight to preserve an important part of our history! My first job out of college was at Danecraft as a designer then later on at Baroness, (Federal Chain). Always felt the industry to be a treasure in RI history. Looking forward to the new museum.

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