Pearl’s parents were both born in Philadelphia. Over the years, they made many trips to the oldest diamond and jewelry district in America: Jewelers’ Row, aka Sansom Street between 7th and 8th. I am the beneficiary of many a jewelry presentation box stamped with the names Neff, S. Kind & Sons, Harvey Levinson, Jack Kellmer, Safian & Rudolph and William Schwartz, all the old names in Philadelphia jewelry making.
Notice the absence of J.E. Caldwell & Co. Until recent years, they were not located on the quaint, previously cobblestoned, street. They probably catered to the more blue-blooded Main Line society set, as did Bailey, Banks & Biddle. According to Peter Suchy Jeweler’s blog about the emporium, James Emmott Caldwell’s presence on the Philly jewelry scene dates back to 1839. They were the official jeweler of the Daughters of the American Revolution. No wonder my family didn’t shop there.
Innocently getting in to her car one day at the Neshaminy Mall, Pearl spotted a gold charm bracelet lying in the parking lot. My guess is that it belonged to a grandmother of these five children, whose names were engraved on it, as was typical of the time period. In fact, I have a similar piece that was worn by my own grandmother.
Wanting to return it to its rightful owner, I’ve searched the Internet, obituaries, even ancestry.com looking for Char, Patti, Jimmie, Gerard and Catherine G. I hoped their birth dates, which are engraved on the reverse of their individual charm, might give me further clues. To date, I must confess, I have had no success in locating them. My 10x21mm jeweler’s loupe also enabled me to identify the hearts and disks as 14K gold. Upon closer inspection, I noticed more markings, but couldn’t quite make them out. Was it JECOOK? JECOOM? and then it hit me….perhaps it said J.E.C.&CO. Could that be the J.E. Caldwell & Co. of Philadelphia fame? Further research brought me to auction houses currently hawking vintage Caldwell estate pieces with provenance. These included the same marking, so I knew I had struck gold with identifying the bracelet as a Caldwell. Now if only I could find the sentimental granny to whom it once belonged.