Hamilton: Celebrating 100 Years

The story began 100 years ago. Founded in Trenton, New Jersey, Hamilton Jewelers was established in 1912, and a legacy of tradition and service began.

Irving Siegel, a former errand boy for a similar store, purchased the firm on September 11, 1927 for $15,750 in notes payable to the former owners. He stocked the simplest of items, from silver dresser sets and cigarette lighters, to finery ranging from diamonds to pocket watches, all in a small storefront at 122 South Broad Street.

Siegel, or “Mr. Irving” as he was known, began with one other employee — his wife Alice. Together, they built a modest business, working every day through the Depression to establish themselves in the community. Mr. Siegel’s efforts would pay off, as the company would soon become one of the country’s leading guild jewelers; they have maintained this standing with innovative designs and a passion for exemplary client service. This spirit of service — to clients and community — is the thread that has unified three generations of the Siegel family for 100 years, in Princeton and central New Jersey and Palm Beach, Florida.

Hamilton began with diverse product offerings, at a time in history when most cities in America had only a butcher, a cobbler, a banker, a barber and a general mercantile store. Hamilton forged a practical business with items ranging from clocks and pocket watches to fine wedding and engagement rings.

When Mr. Siegel purchased the firm, Hamilton began to stake its claim as a prominent purveyor of the world’s finest brands in timepieces as well, starting with a relationship Mr. Siegel established with Patek Philippe in 1938, making Hamilton one of the country’s first independent retailers to carry the renowned maker of fine Swiss timepieces.

Since the company’s beginning, Hamilton Jewelers has always combined the characteristics of an international jeweler with the unique hospitality of a regional family business. This penchant for bringing the world’s finest offerings in jewels and timepieces to regional communities was the pioneering tradition that began with Irving and was conveyed to his son, Martin Siegel, now chairman, who joined the business in 1955. Hank Siegel, the third generation of the family to serve as president of the firm, followed his father Martin’s path in 1981 and is now the current president and CEO as appointed in 1992.

Hamilton specializes in fine jewelry of their own design and manufacture, and also offers premium designer names in jewelry and the best in luxury timepieces. The gift department features a distinctive selection of décor items including china, crystal and antique silver. A division dedicated to emblematic and insignia jewelry was acquired in 2010 and is now a thriving part of Hamilton’s client offerings. Other guest services include a Bridal and Gift Registry, Estate and Jewelry Buying, Business Gifts, custom jewelry design, complete timepiece and jewelry repairs, e-commerce and in-house appraisals.

To commemorate the centennial milestone, the company will be publishing a coffee table book highlighting its 100-year history, including many previously unknown details from the family’s archives. The year will also be celebrated with centennial events including retrospectives from Hamilton’s history presented on www.hamiltonjewelers.com.