Cover Stories From 150 Years of JCK: Dark ’30

The Jewelers’ Circular entered the Great Depression with a not entirely surprising focus on credit, finance, and creative customer payment plans

the year is 1930—which might account for the austere cover. The start of the Great Depression could also explain the feature “Customer Arranges Own Payment Plan,” focusing on Barrett W. Stephenson, credit manager of the Adams Jewelry Co. of Tampa, Fla. “The customer knows best how he”—of course it’s a he—“can finance his purchase.” But what happens if said customer can’t pay off his pricey purchase? “Instead of confiscating the article, as do so many firms, we take it back and give him a diamond or watch of the value for which he has paid,” says Stephenson. “In a number of instances the patron has returned to us at a later date, when his finances were in a better condition and purchased additional merchandise.” This issue also touted a three-day credit jewelers convention in Philadelphia. One of the hot topics: “Credit and Collections.” We can’t help but wonder what those attendees made of Mr. Stephenson’s, ahem, pioneering payment plan.

(Photograph by Nestor Cervantes)

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