Jeweler’s Row

By Emily on June 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Bario-Neal works with several specialized craftspeople on Philadelphia’s historic Jeweler’s Row to hand-make many of our pieces.  Composed of nearly 300 small, family-owned businesses, Jeweler’s Row is home to the oldest jewelry district in America (est. 1851) and continues to thrive as a creative and manufacturing hub in the industry. Jeweler’s Row is on the block of Sansom Street between 7th and 8th, just a short walk from our Philadelphia shop.

In addition to being the oldest jewelry district in America, Jeweler’s Row is also the site of the first row homes built in the US. Architect Thomas Carstairs designed the row homes of what’s now Jeweler’s Row for the developer William Sansom, around 1799-1829.  Formerly known as Carstairs Row, the row was one of the first housing developments in the US. Unlike previous row housing that featured varying heights, widths and brickwork among the structures, Carstairs purchased the entire block and built 22 uniform buildings.[1] Today, the block has several jewelry stores as well as workshops and has been greatly modified over the years, but retains some of its historic feel with a cobblestone street and some original brickwork.[2]

We work with several jewelers from the row including casters, enamellists, engravers and stone setters. Many of these businesses have been around for decades and been passed down for generations, creating a vast network of experience and expertise in specialized jewelry crafts.

 The casting company we work with is a local, family-owned business that has been in business for over 26 years. They work with recycled metal from a local refinery and they do all of their own casting and molding at their shop on Jeweler’s Row.

 Our enamellist has worked in fine jewelry enamel and decorative metalwork for over 25 years. Also located on Jeweler’s Row, she works on trade-based jewelry as well as custom work and antique restoration.[3]

For our hand engravings, we work with two wonderful engravers on Jeweler’s Row, Pat and Charlie. Pat’s grandfather started the family business in the 1930’s and the company is 3 generations old. Charlie is a WWII veteran who came back from the war and wanted to be a jewelry designer. At the time, there were very few jewelry schools, and the industry was even more of a family business than it is now. Charlie attended the now-defunct Philadelphia Engraving school on the GI bill and has been engraving ever since. When engraving a piece, we bring either a drawing or written text to Pat or Charlie. All of the engraving is done by hand with careful precision.

 We also work with a number of craftspeople who specialize in stone setting and/or engraving but also help us with resizing, laser soldering, and repair work on heirloom jewelry. Jewelers’ Row is an important part of our work at Bario-Neal. It allows us to support a strong local craft and manufacturing community and to learn from the experience and mentorship of experts in our field.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewelers’_Row,_Philadelphia,_Pennsylvania

[2] http://www.rowhouse-magazine.com/featuredHomes/featuredRows_phillyRows.html

[3] http://www.glassongold.com/aboutjoan/index.htm

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1 Comment »

  1. Thank you for all the wonderful posts you guys make. I just love how informative they are and how you touch on all subjects of the jewelry industry. You’re not just here to show off your work (which is beautiful by the way) but you also bring awareness to the various parties involved who help make your jewelry come to life which sometimes people forget or know nothing about! Thank you again and I truly enjoy reading your blog.

    Comment by Tina — May 19, 2012 @ 11:07 am

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