by Emily Vanneman
With a 20th anniversary celebration scheduled for Oct. 15, Caleb Meyer Studio, Chestnut Hill’s longtime jewelry store at 8520 Germantown Ave., is stepping back to admire its achievements spanning the past two decades.
Caleb Meyer, the owner, began designing and creating jewelry after graduating from Haverford College. Meyer refined his craft after learning from his father who remains a renowned gold jewelry creator in Williamsport, Pa. Following in the footsteps of the American craft movement, which his parents were a part of, Meyer revels in the process of designing a piece of jewelry.
“We’re very much an American craft shop,” Meyer said. “There was a big American craft movement in the late 60s and early 70s that my parents were both a part of, and I grew up going to craft fairs and things like that.”
With the rise of emphasis on locally-crafted, handmade goods around the country, Meyer’s business has seen a warm welcome from the Chestnut Hill community.
“There’s a little more emphasis now on things that are locally made, which is a little different flavor from the American craft, but it’s definitely something that we subscribe to,” Meyer said.
Meyer’s products are not only handmade, but also made in-house in the storefront on Germantown Avenue.
“Everything that’s in these cases, we make here,” he said.
Meyer and his team stick to platinum and gold as the base of their jewelry. Because of the handmade quality of the jewelry, Meyer’s creations have a distinct look.
“Everything that we do is bezel set,” he said. “Because we’re making everything by hand, things tend to be substantially built.”
The company has established connections with suppliers that emphasize the same attention to detail that the business maintains.
“We deal with a metal company out of Richmond, Va., that uses only recycled metals,” Meyer said. “They’ve done that for over 10 years, and they’ve been our sole supplier.”
While Meyer and his team make new, contemporary pieces, they also have a strong hand in antique jewelry and items that can be salvaged.
“The jewelry business itself has moved towards an assembly of parts,” Meyer said. “We’re really getting away from that. Every single one of these rings was made for that specific stone.”
Because of the change in the industry, Meyer aims to set himself apart from other jewelers.
“There was a definite break in the way that diamonds were cut in 1930,” he said. “We always have those on display. I would say probably three quarters of the engagement ring stones that we use are antiques.[The diamonds] mostly come from estate pieces that have been worn for generations.”
Meyer affirms the importance in recycling diamonds from jewelry that has been appreciated for generations.
“I have a lot of respect for the way things were made,” he said.
To the Caleb Meyer business, recovering diamonds from pieces that have been worn for generations adds to the story of the jewelry.
“That’s one of the wonderful things about diamonds, they can be in settings that have worn out and the diamonds aren’t worn at all, and they just need a little bit of a polish,” Meyer said. “We try to maintain the original cutting characteristics of those old stones.”
The approaching 20th anniversary will set a reflection period in motion for Meyer and his team of workers.
“It’s made me reflect on how I appreciate doing something for a long time,” he said. “You look back on the journey, and there are frustrations and achievements along the way, but there is also a really wonderful group of customers who have come to rely on us for gifts and jewelry and people who we really love seeing come in the store, so there’s a kind of continuity to it. I feel like if we disappeared from the Avenue all of a sudden, people would miss us.”
Meyer is optimistic that the journey will continue for years to come because of its loyal Chestnut Hill customer base.