Evolving Product Mix from Toasters to Tanzanite

In the early decades of the century, jewelry stores, especially those in small towns and rural areas, operated like mini-emporiums. They sold not only jewelry, watches, and tableware but also eyeglasses, ladies’ hair combs, even luggage and appliances. A 1905 copy of the Jewelers’ Circular, the precursor to this magazine, includes ads for coffee machines and eyeglass displays. With shifts in consumer buying habits and growing competition from mass merchandisers and specialty retailers, jewelers would later shed these ancillary product lines and focus on fine jewelry and watches and, to a lesser extent, tableware. The evolution of jewelers’ inventories over the past 100 years reflects changes in professional training, merchandising trends, and fashion, as well as economic and political influences. Fine jewelry comes to the hinterlands. Until the 1960s, fine jewelry was found pri
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