Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Shreve, Crump & Low has arrived on that sloping thoroughfare of tony shops known as Greenwich Avenue. The elegant emporium, housed in the stately Neo-Federalist building that was built in 1925 by the Putnam Trust Co., bills itself as the oldest purveyor of luxury goods in America.
How old? The company traces its history to 1796, when watchmaker and silversmith John McFarlane opened a workshop in Boston across the street from Paul Revere at Downtown Crossing. Some 50 years and many craftsmen later, the business would be taken over by Benjamin Shreve, a Boston shipping merchant, who filled the shop with silks, gemstones, antiquities and other treasures culled from voyages to Europe and Asia.
Today what became Shreve, Crump & Low is owned by David Walker, a second-generation American jeweler. “But we’re not just a jewelry store,” says son Brian Walker, vice president and creative director. (Shreve is very much a family affair. Brother Bradford is senior sales associate with a degree in gemology.)
Indeed, Shreve features watches by Tag Heuer, Piaget and Bremont, among others; Lotuff leather briefcases, passport wallets and iPad foldover cases for the man in your life; Lalique vases with reliefs of dancing nymphs; antique Chinese garden seats; silver flat and giftware (the company created tennis’ sterling silver Davis Cup); and, of course, the signature Gurgling Cod pitcher, so named for the sound it makes when you pour water from its generous mouth.
Shreve even carries 19th-century American and European paintings like E.J. Niemann’s “Forest Fishermen” (1860), which hangs in Brian Walker’s office. “We love artwork,” he says.
But “jewelry is our passion,” says the website, which offers educational information on diamonds and pearls. They are among the bling that will make your heart sing. There are dazzling suites (necklace, ring and earrings) of emeralds or rare, unheated sapphires surrounded by diamonds; fanciful, animal-inspired bracelets and pins by David Webb and Jean Schlumberger; and pigeon-blood Burmese rubies. These are housed in a space that has undergone quite the overhaul.
“We invested over $2 million in the gut renovation of the entire 6,000-square-foot first floor of the building,” Walker says. We added a private walk-in vault, as well as a private showroom; reconfigured the front entrance of the building to be more in touch with the classical architectural elements of the building’s exterior; and consulted about four separate lighting specialists for the ceiling layout – for which we installed all energy efficient LED lights to show off our incredible selection of diamonds and precious jewels.
“We also increased the five windows on the Lewis Street side of the building from 4 feet wide to 10 feet wide by 7 feet high, adding bomb-resistant security glass, and in doing so removed over six tons of limestone from the facade of the building in an unprecedented achievement of modern engineering, which has helped to allow an adequate amount of natural sunlight into the showroom.”
The result is a truly yin-yang arrangement that marries a delicate, airy white décor – accented by sparkling chandeliers – with handsome, masculine wainscoting.
Greenwich, Walker says, is worth the effort: “We have a large client base in the Fairfield, Westchester and Manhattan area. We needed a fair spread of locations.”
With the Boston flagship ensconced on fashionable, artistic Newbury Street and another shop in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Shreve officials scoured New England for the third locale before settling on Greenwich, where the company continues to offer a full range of services. Shreve will not only create and sell you jewelry. It will appraise, repair, repurpose and buy yours as well.
“Allow us,” Walker says, “to serve you.”
Shreve, Crump & Low is at 125 Greenwich Ave. (at Lewis Street). For more, call 203-622-6205 or visit shrevecrumpandlow.com.