The Sky Is Falling: Chronicling a Century and a Half of Retail Panic



Long before jewelers despised e-tailers, they really hated department stores. And catalog showrooms. And even credit cards! When the American Horological Journal and The Jewelers’ Circular, the two earliest predecessors to JCK, debuted in 1869 and 1870, respectively, consumers could buy jewelry from one place and one place only: jewelry stores. Then came department stores—retail behemoths with big footprints, big budgets, and a big selection of just about everything. “The department store extends its arms out into every industry like a mighty octopus,” wrote The Jewelers’ Weekly in its May 15, 1895, edition. (The magazine was acquired by the Jewelers’ Circular Publishing Co. in 1900.) Griped one jeweler in the following issue: “The honest and conscientious jeweler cannot compete with t
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