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J.E. Caldwell

(1839 – present)

Venerable American jeweler from Philadelphia known for its Art Nouveau and Art Deco jewels. In 1839, James Emmott Caldwell began to supply wealthy Philadelphians with stylish European jewelry, silver, and objets d’art. Previously Caldwell had trained as a silversmith in New York City. Upon opening, Caldwell’s business quickly flourished. Over several decades, the store changed locations and owners a handful of times. In 1868, the firm was officially dubbed J.E. Caldwell and Co.After fires ravaged the city in that same year, the store was rebuilt at 902 Chestnut Street.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the firm began to create beautiful gem-set, hand fabricated Art Nouveau jewels. Its pieces are among the finest examples of American Art Nouveau jewelry featuring finely chased surfaces, unusual gemstones, as well as the typical Art Nouveau motifs of curvaceous women, vines, garlands, flowers, and insects. In 1916, J.E. Caldwell relocated to a more fashionable and affluent part of town, at the corner of Juniper and Chestnut Street.1 Throughout the 1920’s, the firm produced fine pieces of Art Deco jewelry for which it is still known. They continue to offer high-quality jewels in accordance with current styles.

Maker’s Marks and Timeline:

Description

Specialties

  • Fine Art Nouveau & Art Deco jewels.
  • James E. Caldwell trained as a silversmith, watchmaker & jeweler.

1935

  • Watchmaker apprentice in New York City.

1839

  • First ad for the business appeared in the United States Gazette.

1840 – 1859

  • Located at 140 Chestnut St.

1843 – 1848

  • Caldwell & Bennett partnership.

1848

  • Reorganized as J.E. Caldwell Co. from Caldwell & Bennett.

1859

  • 822 Chestnut St.

1868 – 1916

  • 902 Chestnut St.

1881

  • Death of James E. Caldwell.
  • J. Albert Caldwell, son and successor ran the business until his death in 1914.
  • J. Emott Caldwell, grandson headed the business until his death.

1953

  • Expanded to shops in Philadelphia, Delaware and Washington D.C. managed by Austion Homer.
  • Later sold to Henry Birks & Sons.

1992

  • Sold to Carlyle & Co. in North Carolina.

c.2005

  • Sold to Finley’s.