Parsons

  • History of Design and Curatorial Studies (MA)

    Anna Rasche

    Dreicer & Company: Forgotten Jewelers of the Gilded Age

    This work is a history of the American jewelry firm Dreicer & Company, from its earliest iterations to its ultimate liquidation. Dreicer & Co. was active from 1868 to 1927. It was an important contributor to the landscape of the Gilded Age in New York. The company was founded by Jacob and Gittel Dreicer, Jewish immigrants from Minsk, and headed by their son Michael Dreicer until his death in 1921. Although the brand is somewhat obscure today, in the early twentieth century, Dreicer & Company ranked as an elite jewelry house alongside companies such as Cartier and Tiffany & Co. and boasted the nation's wealthiest businessmen and U.S. presidents as patrons. The firm was famous for its intricate garland-style platinum mountings, for its ability to assemble singular strands of pearls, and as procurers of large and rare gemstones. In addition to operating their jewelry business, the Dreicer family also invested in real estate and developed properties along Fifth Avenue in New York City. Michael Dreicer was a member of the Fifth Avenue Association and a vocal proponent of city beautiful efforts. The company's flagship store, designed by architects Warren & Wetmore, still stands at 560 Fifth Avenue today. This paper tells a true tale about the fulfillment of the American Dream and is intended to shed light on an impressive family business whose contributions are still present in the fabric of our 21st-century city. See more on issuu.
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