Shreve, Crump & Low (Est. 1796) The history of the Shreve Family in America is long and illustrious. Spanning almost 400 years, from the founding of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, the Shreve Family has its roots in the early religious dissident movements that fled to America. Many early Shreve families were Quakers.
In the 19th Century the Shreve Family contributed to the great economic development of the country. From ports in Massachusetts, Captain Benjamin Shreve and others set out in tall sailing ships to carry trade goods to distant ports. Members of the Massachusetts branch of the family founded famous silver, jewelry and mercantile enterprises including Boston’s Shreve, Crump and Low and San Francisco’s Shreve & Company.
Established in 1796 by watchmaker and silversmith John McFarlane, Shreve Crump & Low is one of the oldest jewelry stores in North America. McFarlane opened his shop across the street from Paul Revere’s silversmith workshop and gravitated toward luxury. McFarlane built his business procuring items including silver tea sets and other desirable wares.
In 1813, MacFarlane sold the business to a gold and silversmith, Jabez Baldwin. One of Baldwin’s apprentices, John Low, became a partner in 1822. Over the next two decades, the firm changed hands, and names, six times.
In 1855, Benjamin Shreve joined the firm as its first Shreve. Charles Crump was hired the same year. After Benjamin became involved, the firm soon delivered diamonds, jewels and other rarities from Europe and the Orient to the elite patrons of Boston. Even so, ownership would change hands several more times in the next fifteen years.
When another Shreve, William, returned from the Civil War in 1865, he became a partner. Four years later, in 1869, the firm was reorganized and put under the management of Charles Crump and Shreve, Crump and Low was born.
In 1869. Shreve, Crump & Low was one of the first retailers in America to offer Patek Philippe and Rolex timepieces and the company earned its distinction for excellence becoming an American business legend.
In the last quarter of the 19th Century, business boomed. Crump frequently traveled to Europe to bring back stylish jewelry and silver objects. Although the store was ravaged in the great Boston fire of 1872, it bounced back and moved to its largest location: a six-story building near the Boston commons. It would not move again until 1930 when it relocated to premises in the Back Bay area of Boston.
While Shreve, Crump and Low is not known for producing particularly innovative designs, it has consistently provided clients with fashionable, high quality jewelry and silver. It has also been awarded prestigious commissions for trophies including, in 1899, a commission to produce tennis’ Davis Cup and in, 1908, the Cy Young Cup that commemorates Major League baseball’s best pitchers.
The firm has also sold antiques, imported fine linen, and offered stationery while also exhibiting artifacts from ancient Greece and Rome. Shreve, Crump & Low is known for classic fine jewelry and timepieces, tableware, and Boston-themed gifts.
Shreve, Crump & Low fortified its Boston legacy in 1930 after another move. This time it was to a new building designed by leading architect William T. Aldrich at the corner of Boylston and Arlington Streets. Thirty years later, history was made again when the Gurgling Cod pitcher was introduced at the request of Benjamin Dale Shreve, whose son Richard Shreve would be the last family member to own the company. The whimsical Gurgling Cods Pitcher makes playful (some say, “annoying”) gurgling sounds when water is poured.
In another relocation, Shreve, Crump & Low moved to 39 Newbury Street in a three-story flagship store. Inside were jewels by Oscar Heyman and Chopard. The firm also offered outstanding timepieces from esteemed watchmakers such as A. Lange & Söhne, Blancpain, Roger Dubuis and Jaeger LeCoultre and fine china and gifts from Herend, Royal Crown Derby and Christolfe.
In 1974, Shreve, Crump & Low opened a second location at The Mall at Chestnut Hill. In 2009, Shreve, Crump & Low consolidated the mall store into their Boston store.
According to the website, Serendipity.com, David Walker’s father, Frederick J. Walker, a Boston jeweler, did everything he could to discourage his five children from going into the jewelry business. However, David didn’t listen and, in 1979, David launched his own jewelry business called David & Company, first in Wellesley and eventually in Brookline, two cities in Massachusetts. In 2006, David bought Shreve, Crump & Low and went from just eight employees to 88.
In 2005, capitalizing on its long history with Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox, the firm, the team’s official jeweler, helped a cause close to the team’s heart by creating a 14k gold Red Sox pin to celebrate the team’s World Series victory the year before. The piece could be pinned to a tie, hat or lapel and became part of the store’s Boston Red Sox Collection – an exclusive line of Major League Baseball licensed jewelry – available in sterling silver and 14k gold.
Shreve introduced the pin in time for the 2005 season’s opening day. For every pin sold, Shreve donated $100 to the Red Sox Foundation, the primary funding source for the club’s philanthropy that includes The Jimmy Fund, the Red Sox Scholars, Community Athletic Programs and social service outreach that supports hundreds of other nonprofits and charities throughout New England.
Shreve’s Red Sox Collection includes a charm bracelet, pins, cuff links, key chains and ornaments. Since introducing the product line during the 2004 World Series, Shreve has sold more than 6,500 pieces to loyal members of Red Sox Nation.
By 2016, Walker and his family were successfully running Shreve, Crump & Low from their Chestnut Hill and Boston, MA locations and soon added a Greenwich, Connecticut location that opened in 2014. David’s two sons, Brian and Brad, helmed the store in Greenwich.
Since 2011, Shreve, Crump & Low has become one of the hottest watch retailers in the country, picking up many top-brands including the aforementioned ones as well as Vacheron Constantin and Omega.
Comprising three levels of well-lit showroom space, Shreve, Crump & Low presents diamonds and precious jewels on its first floor, a mezzanine-level Watch Salon, and a third floor giftware department and bridal registry.
Shreve, Crump & Low has forged additional relationships with some of the watch industry’s most elite and specialized brands, including Audemars Piguet, Breitling, IWC, Zenith, TAG Heuer, Hermès and more.
The most significant change in 2016 was the renovation of the Boston store’s watch floor to make room for Hublot and Panerai. Piaget is found in both the Greenwich and Boston stores.
Shreve, Crump & Low’s associates are well versed in the history, romance and collections of each of their represented brands—including the newly acquired H. Moser & Cie.
Current brands the firm offers and not previously identified above include Baume & Mercier, Bell & Ross, Bremont, Frédérique Constant, Longines, Montblanc, and Nomos Glashütte.
Shreve Crump & Low’s collections of jewelry and timepieces are unlike any other in America. From estate pieces of jewelry made by Jean Schlumberger and Oscar Heyman to one of a kind gemstone pieces, its collections of jewelry are noteworthy. The same can be said for its Watch Salon. With sixteen of the most famous Swiss & German watch industry brands, the firm carries the rarest and most valuable timepieces in the world. The exclusivity of their timepieces sets the firm apart from any other watch dealer in the New England area.Sell Shreve, Crump & Low All Artists