David Walker (pictured), president and owner of Boston’s Shreve, Crump & Low, generally considered one of America’s oldest jewelers, died on Oct. 18.
Walker was the son of a Wellesley, Mass., jeweler, who discouraged him from going into the business. Walker always admired Shreve, Crump & Low—a local institution that dated back to 1796—and applied for a job there when he was starting out. He was turned down.
“In true David fashion,” the store statement said, “he didn’t miss a beat and carried on towards the life he aspired to.”
That meant starting his own business, David & Co., where he indulged his passion for rare gemstones and diamonds. But when, in 2006, Shreve ran into financial problems, Walker bought the then-210-year-old store. He was now owner of the company that once wouldn’t hire him, and had gone from overseeing 8 employees to 88.
“I think it came along at just the right time in my life,” he told Boston’s WBUR in 2008. “I had reached a point where I was ready for a challenge. And I’m getting one now. [I’m] sure my dad and mom are up in heaven looking down, [saying,] ‘Geez, the kid’s out of control…buying Shreve’s.’”
Walker “was immensely proud to own such an important Bostonian institution,” the statement said. “David not only saved the company, but grew it beyond his wildest expectations.”
Today, the company has two locations: one in Boston, and one in Greenwich, Conn.
“Bostonians think of Shreve, Crump & Low as their jewelers,” Walker told JCK in 2012. “All these local companies have been bought up over the years, and I think people really feel like this is their store. I think that’s why it’s had continued success.”
David Walker is survived by his wife, Antonella, and children Brian, Bradford, and Olivia.
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