Market Square Jewelers is one of those kinds of antique jewelry stores that is a heart-skipping treasure trove! With four different locations in the Northeast, there’s always some kind of road trip begging to be planned, with at least one of their locations as a stopping point. I’ve been a fan for awhile, even have a piece in my jewelry box from Market Square Jewelers–a date ring, of course! The year “01” which was a rare find–always fun when the people working at the store get just as excited as you do over jewelry! They have a great crew working over there, with years of experience.
Wanting to know more, I got to hear from Elizabeth, second-generation within this family-run business and newly married, about how everything began and what she’s been up to lately! Of course we had to talk about memorable pieces and future plans.
Visit their website >> www.marketsquarejewelers.com
When traveling to Antiqua as a teenager in the early 70s, my father purchased a number of shell necklaces from native craftspeople. When he came back to Cape Cod, he found himself, tanned and bare chested, walking his hometown beaches reselling the necklaces! He always said, as simple as it is, this was where Market Square Jewelers was born!
As for me, I was born into this company! I grew up taking naps in the back of the stores, and then working in them, and learning gems/jewelry and business first hand from the time I could walk and talk. After I finished college, I attended the GIA to formalize my education and get my Graduate Gemology degree, but really, there was never a time when I thought I’d be doing anything else. Antique jewelry and rare gems are in my blood.
I’d say there’s two main things that make us a little different than the average jewelry shop. First off, we’ve been in our locations for so long, we really know the customers and clients well. They’ve become friends and family members, and we’re able to really have an awesome relationship with them, finding just the right piece engagement ring for a young man who used buy Mother’s Day gifts with his allowance. Things like that.
What really sets our jewelry apart? It’s all unique. We take these wonderful old mountings and settings that are so beautifully crafted, and we restore them, often with gems that were never heard of when the mounting was made! Have you ever seen a tanzanite in an Art Deco mounting? Tanzanite wasn’t around when that mounting was made, and yet, it’s perfect!
Market Square Jewelers began in 1984 in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and we’re still in the same spot. It’s a beautiful shop, right on the corner downtown, with huge picture windows floor to ceiling on two sides of the building. The light is amazing in that store! It’s a great place to browse, there’s plenty of room and it’s a very mellow atmosphere.
We have been in downtown Portsmouth location for over 20 years, again, in the same location all that time, right on the corner in Market Square! Portsmouth is kind of like walking into your grandmother’s jewelry box. The shop is smaller, but it is PACKED with goodies, especially the windows, which are a local landmark. Everyone knows those windows displays!
In 2007, Market Square Jewelers opened our storefront in Downtown Dover, NH. We bought the whole building this time, and turned it into our hub. This is where our offices are, and our goldsmithing studios, and our repair people, and our designers, this is our production center, as well as a retail site, and it gives the place a different feel than the other shops. It’s a great energy, it really feels like we fit right in with the Dover vibe.
We’ve been wanting to open in Portland for years! The Downeast charm is so enticing, especially in the district of the Old Port. In 2014 we found the perfect location on Exchange Street, a shop with wonderful tin ceilings and old wood accents that already felt like home. It took a lot of work, but we not only opened the shop in record time, but found the perfect antique jewelry displays and cabinets so that it all looks like the shop was built to be ours, a hundred years ago!
(pictured below left–their Portsmouth location, right–their Dover location)
Definitely the first sale on our website, marketsquarejewelers.com. Launching our site was a huge endeavor: refining our look, inventory management, perfecting product photography, blog content, copy writing, etc. I remember the first sale that we made: a pair of simple gold earrings. I ran down the hall of the office giving the gals high fives. We all hugged and were so excited and had been working so hard to see it happen! We were all smiles! Our work had finally paid off!
As a woman who is also expecting her first baby, one of the greatest challenges is being a mother and a business woman. I have so many goals for this business, including expanding our online presence, developing a collection of MSJ original reproduction pieces, and continuing ways to give back to the communities that we live and work. My biggest challenge and goal is to be a great mother and a great boss!
It is hearsay that the GIA has only seen 10 taaffeites in all the years they have been identifying gemstones; we own one of them. Being nerdy, when it comes to rare and unusual gemstones, finding this gem and having the opportunity to buy it has been one of the most exciting moments.
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