NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Gold is back, especially at Braunschweiger Jewelers, where its Golden Anniversary celebration went off without a hitch Thursday evening at the New Providence location in the Village Shopping Center.
There was a lot to celebrate – not only has the New Providence store been open for 50 years, Braunschweiger Jewelers has been in the family since Robert Braunschweiger opened a watch repair shop in Newark in 1931. The ownership stayed within the family, and is now owned and operated by the fifth generation of Braunschweigers.
One of them, Robin Braunschweiger Silva, who grew up in Martinsville, said she and her brother Brian “grew up in the back room of the stores.” When they were in “high school we would open purchase orders and tag items,” she said.
She went to Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), earned a degree in marketing and, after graduation, looked around and decided, “I don’t want to do anything else,” other than work in the family business, she said. It wasn’t long before she “took over marketing from my mom, Kristy.”
Silva’s brother, Brian Smith, works in sales fulltime, “has graduated with gemology courses and is working for another certification,” she said.
“We were lucky that they gave us the foundation,” in the business and are “receptive to new ideas,” Silva said. That’s actually fairly unique in family owned businesses. “Every generation has been open to the new generation’s ideas,” which makes the transition of ownership easy and the inventory and marketing methods current.
Over the years the family created a reputation for being on the cutting edge of the newest trends in jewelry. Today, gold is back in fashion, “yellow gold and rose gold,” said Silva, adding, the trend is bending toward “a more minimalist look, tiny earrings, small necklaces, a more vintage look.”
Ana Miniet, a New Providence resident for 26 years, and Braunschweiger’s buyer, travels to the three major jewelry shows in Las Vegas, New York City and Arizona, to find the newest styles and buy the up and coming styles, as well as items that are on trend and will appeal to their customers.
“I love going to Vegas. In one week you see so much. There are three shows, the first one is luxury jewelry; the second, only couture pieces, the crème de la crème, and the third and largest one offers more affordable pieces,” she said.
She called the Scottsdale, Arizona show, “very up scale,” featuring “worldwide designers, who also attend the show in Las Vegas.” Designers like David Yurman, who is the top seller in the store, she said.
On Thursday, longtime customers, friends, neighboring business owners, borough residents and even the curious stopped by the jewelers, drawn, perhaps by the golden glow emanating from the store. Inside, owners and staff warmly greeted people as they entered and encouraged them to browse the jewelry cases, enjoy a glass of wine and snack on hors d'oeuvres or delicate pastries.
From time to time, a loud bell rang near the front of the store, while people clapped and cheered. The hub bub signaled that someone successfully opened one of three treasure chests in the front of the store using a key they picked from a fishbowl full of keys. Inside the treasure chest, the winner found beautifully wrapped packages and could choose one to take home. One chest contained packages wrapped with gold paper and a gold bow. Inside each package was a gold or white gold necklace, with a solitaire diamond. Similar treasures were in the other two treasure chests. Braunschweiger gave 50 gifts away from the treasure chests that evening – one for each year of operation in New Providence. Braunschweiger Jewelers also collected donation to benefit the New Providence Rescue Squad and the New Providence Fire Department.
Next year, the store’s Morristown location will celebrate its 60th anniversary. Until then, the next event at the Morristown store will be the Holiday Event on Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the store, 33 South Street, Morristown.