Our latest A-LIST spot is the newest addition to the Hamilton Jewelers brand, H1912. Hamilton, owned by the Siegel family, has a longstanding Princeton history that dates back to…you guessed it, 1912, and includes a storefront in Palm Beach. They launched H1912 to showcase vintage and estate jewelry. Why vintage? “Each piece is unique, and each has a story and a history,” says Head Merchant Anne Russell. “They’re telling the story of a period. Everything is authenticated and restored, and like antiques, they get better with time.” The A-LIST caught up with Anne to find out more about H1912, its “industrial chic” shop on Nassau Street, and what treasures await.
A-LIST: What made you decide to open up a vintage shop in addition to Hamilton Jewelers?
ANNE RUSSELL: Vintage jewelry and watches have always been part of the Hamilton business, but over the past few years we recognized a demand in clients looking for a larger selection of pre-owned watches and vintage pieces.
A-LIST: How do you find the inventory?
ANNE: We buy pieces from clients who are looking to trade in pieces they don’t like or wear anymore. We have a team of expert watchmakers and gemologists that evaluate and authenticate each piece to make sure that the seller is getting the most for their unwanted items. At H1912 we are committed to the beauty and value and restoration of vintage watches and jewelry. We have each piece restored to its original quality and craftsmanship. All pieces are authenticated and come with a certificate of authenticity by our team. We believe that these pieces are unique and have a history and story to be told.
A-LIST: What’s behind the name and the design concept?
ANNE: The store is called H1912. Hamilton Jewelers was founded in 1912, and when thinking about an appropriate name for the Vintage brand we didn’t need to look any further than our history. The store is located at 104 Nassau Street and the design inspiration is Industrial Chic. We wanted a unique design for this store that would allow the jewelry and watches of so many different styles to stand out. There’s a lot of grey in that store, my favorite color, but the space has a vintage vibe. The cases are refurbished, the ceiling is stripped down to the original bead board, and the center table is an antique found locally. We had so much fun putting this space together. Even the desk chairs were refurbished from my office.
A-LIST: What are some of the most interesting pieces you’ve seen so far?
ANNE: This store is such a treat to merchandise because it’s always changing. One week I’m refurbishing a Cartier Love Bracelet that is from the 90’s and the next day we are looking at a very fine ART Deco Emerald and Diamond Sautoir from the 1930’s. Every day is a new opportunity for both the client and staff to learn about the history of watches and jewelry.
A-LIST: Any tips for combining vintage and new pieces?
ANNE: We love seeing so many new clients coming into the store especially the couple looking for a really unique, one-of-a-kind engagement ring. Those couples then mostly purchase new wedding bands, which is a great way to combine new and unique pieces.
A-LIST: How did you choose Princeton as the location for the new shop?
ANNE RUSSELL: Princeton is such a wonderful community. We love the clients that walk through our doors each day and the other businesses in the community that we partner with. When we first launched, Tico’s made an H1912 signature cold pressed blend for the store. We give it out to our clients and they love it! In addition to our partnerships with other businesses, we wanted to be sure we were giving back to the community so a percentage of our sales is donated to a local charity. We feature them on our website and social media and try to not only give them a financial donation but also raise awareness among our clients for their good work.
A-LIST: Do you have any favorite, iconic jewelry pieces from history?
ANNE RUSSELL: I had the opportunity to attend the JEWELS BY JAR exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was amazing, each piece is a curated commissioned piece that transcends jewelry to art.
A-LIST: Any trends yet of best-selling vintage items at the store?
ANNE RUSSELL: Signed jewelry pieces from Cartier, Chopard and Tiffany have been the most popular. For watches, vintage Rolex, Patek Philippe and Cartier are most in demand, but we also have items priced from just around $100. There is great value in buying pre-owned and people are really responding to the design as well as the price.
A-LIST: Can you engrave/monogram vintage items?
ANNE RUSSELL: Absolutely! We have a team that can personalize most pieces. For example, the case back of a watch with your graduation or wedding date, or your child’s initials on a pendant.
Here at the A-LIST we love to keep our eye on the latest and greatest spots. To check out these one-of-a-kind pieces, visit H1912 at 104 Nassau Street, Monday-Friday 10-5, Sunday 12-5, or visit H1912.com (A-LIST tip: you can sign up for new item alerts!). Happy hunting!