Bailey, Banks & Biddle
The famous American jewelry firm from Philadelphia, Bailey, Banks and Biddle, first opened its doors as Bailey and Kitchen in 1832. Catering to modish Philadelphians, the firm sold fashionable jewelry as well as silverware and precious objects. In 1846, one of the original owners, Joseph Trowbridge Bailey, invited his brother into the business. In 1878, Joseph’s son, Joseph Bailey II, forged a partnership with two other jewelers: George Banks of J.E. Caldwell and Samuel Biddle of Robbins, Clark, & Biddle.1 The result was Bailey, Banks, and Biddle. The firm developed a reputation for offering high-quality, well-designed jewelry as evidenced by its commissions to design the first 40,000 Purple Hearts for the United States military as well as to create the Naval Academy and West Point class rings.
Bailey, Banks & Biddle was sold to Zales in 1961. Zales sold them to Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp. in 2007, Finlay went bankrupt and closed in 2009.
Maker’s Marks and Timeline:
Bailey Banks and Biddle
- Manufacturing jewelers.
- Diamond dealers.
- Jewelers to prominent Americans.
- America’s oldest jeweler.
- Civil War swords.
- Mortuary Medal for Abraham Lincoln.
- Medal of Honor.
- Purple Heart, Silver & Bronze Stars.
- Floral jewelry with semi-precious colored stones.
- Joseph T. Bailey c.1832 Bailey & Co.
- Partners Joseph T. Bailey II, George W. Banks & Samuel Biddle c.1878
- Proddow, Penny & Debra Healy. American Jewelry: Glamour & Tradition. New York: Rizzoli, 1987. ISBN 9780847808304
- Rainwater, Dorothy. American Jewelry Manufacturers. Shiffer Publishing Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0887401201
- Healy & Proddow