The history of Newark, New Jersey as the center of jewelry production in America began in 1801. At that time, American-made luxury goods were looked down upon. This new industry in Newark, which emphasized quality and honesty, went a long way to build up the desirability of made-in-America gold and silver items.
Over the years, William Riker became known for several patents involving mechanical processes in the surface ornamentation of jewelry. In addition, William held a patent on a sash fastener. In 1892 William withdrew from the firm along with one of his sons. The two remaining sons changed the name of the company to Riker Brothers, closed their New York selling office and moved to 42-46 Hill Street. William Riker died in 1898 and the company continued under William Jr.’s leadership. Joseph Riker, William’s other son, left the firm and became president of the Newark Manufacturing Jewelers’ Association and president of the Merchants National Bank. The offices remained on Court Street until 1926 when they moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where they remained until the 1940’s.
Maker’s Marks and Timeline:
- Dietz, Ulysses Grant, Editor, et al. The Glitter & The Gold: Fashioning America’s Jewelry, Newark, New Jersey: The Newark Museum, 1997. Pp. 178-179.