Chestnut Hill is steeped in jewelry expertise

by Stacia Friedman
Posted 6/30/22

Chestnut Hill doesn't quite have its own version of Jewelers’ Row, but once you reach the hub of the Northwest Philadelphia shopping district, there’s a jeweler for every block.

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Chestnut Hill is steeped in jewelry expertise


Chestnut Hill doesn't quite have its own version of Jewelers’ Row, but once you reach the hub of the Northwest Philadelphia shopping district, there’s a jeweler for every block.

The Hill has five independently-owned stores that are primarily jewelry shops, each with its own niche and approach to making and selling all that glitters.

They have their own merchandise mix, personality and point of view, said Ann Nevel, retail advocate for the Chestnut Hill Business District.

Two of the stores share an origin story– both Kathy Provost and the Khatchadrian family of Bijoux Fine Jewelry, started on Jewelers’ Row, but evolved to focus on  different specialties. Now, they’re working just a block apart.

Bijoux and Caleb Meyer, also separated by only a block, craft their jewelry in-house. Nearby Chestnut Hill Jewelers is owned by a Springside School graduate who designed for several jewelers before opening her own shop and the Delphine Gallery sells jewelry and also offers appraisal services.

“Together, they compose a rich assortment and range of choices for shoppers on the Hill," Nevel said.

Bijoux Fine Jewelry, 8615 Germantown Ave.

Marty Khatchadrian and his mother Silva Khatchadrian opened their shop at the top of the Hill in 2014, but their story starts in the 1970s. “That is when my father, Arthur, immigrated from Armenia and set up shop on Jewelers Row,” Marty said. “He did jewelry repairs for everyone on Sansom Street for 40 years.”

Over time, the repair business evolved into a successful jewelry manufacturing and wholesale operation which continues today. “Randolph’s in Chestnut Hill was one of our customers,” Marty said. Randolph’s Fine Jewelry had been in business since 1997 when it was bought out by the Khatchadrians in 2012.

“We kept the Randolph name and location until six years ago when we moved to the top of the Hill and renamed it Bijoux Fine Jewelry,” Marty said. “We have five jewelers benches on site and custom make everything we sell.”  

Kathy Provost Jewelry + Design, 8617 Germantown Ave.

Kathy Provost's story also started on Jewelers’ Row. "For 25 years, I was buying jewelry for a wholesale company there," Provost said. Her next business venture was pearl stringing, which she did for Randolph’s before joining Chestnut Hill Jewelers, where she was a partner for over five years. 

"Opening my own shop in 2020 was the best thing I ever did," Provost said. In spite of the pandemic, her business has blossomed. "Social media brings me business from all over," she said. Meanwhile, Provost's pearl-stringing skill is a resource valued by other local jewelers. 

"Caleb Meyer refers stringing work to me, as well as customers who want to update old pieces of jewelry because he doesn't do that work," she said. 

Visitors to her shop are greeted by Polly, an adorable pup who serves as the inspiration for gem-studded dog collars Provost designs for fashionable pooches.

Caleb Meyer, 8520 Germantown Ave.

Jewelry is in Caleb Meyer’s blood. “My father James Meyer was a goldsmith in Central Pennsylvania since 1969,” Meyer said.  

Following graduation from Haverford College, Meyer studied at Rhode Island School of Design and the Gemological Institute of America, then apprenticed in his father’s shop, where he mastered complex fabrication and forging techniques before opening his own shop on the Hill in 1994. 

You are likely to find Meyer and fellow jeweler Natalie Quarino handcrafting jewelry in the rear of the store. “We make each piece from beginning to end,” said Meyer, who works exclusively in gold and platinum. 

Their style is distinctly contemporary and cannot be found elsewhere, the jewelers said. “One of the more interesting things about our shop is that we not only have handmade things, we are a real jeweler,” Meyer said. “We have a gemologist on staff, expert jewelers who can help you find whatever gemstone you want.” 

In addition to gold and platinum jewelry designed and made in the store, Caleb Meyer also carries sterling silver jewelry and crafts by American artisans, including hand-blown glass, hand-thrown pottery and carved wood.

Delphine Gallery, 8435 Germantown Ave.

Co-owner Vickie S. Spangler started in the antique business when she was young and gravitated to antique jewelry, becoming a gemologist and appraiser. 

Her business partner Debbie Weiner, whose background is in fine jewelry sales, explained their partnership this way: “Vickie tells you what it is worth. I’ll tell you whether it looks good on you or not.”

The gallery’s designers “are from all over the country and we also carry estate jewelry as well as hand-blown glass balls by Josh Simpson known as Inhabited Planets, and crystals,” Weiner said. The gallery also performs appraisals, often of inherited jewelry. A fair market appraisal can help families decide how to equally divide an inheritance, Weiner said. 

“We’ve been here for 23 years and have local customers who have come to us for generations,” Weiner said.

Chestnut Hill Jewelers, 8138 Germantown Ave.

“I grew up here and went to Springside,” said owner Leslie Haddow who, after attaining a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Middlebury College, worked for Philadelphia jeweler Greg Drake.

“I did the jewelry buying and traveled to Italy,” said Haddow, who later took jewelry design classes with the Gemological Institute of America and went into designing jewelry for several different jewelers before a 10-year stint at Cooke and Berlinger Fine Jewelry in Haverford.

“I do a lot of custom work, redesigning family pieces,” said Haddow who opened her shop in 2014. “I do drawings and engage in a lot of back and forth discussion with the customer. Then, I have a jeweler in the city who makes a cast from my designs and does beautiful work.”

“A lot of people comment that my shop feels like a New York City boutique because I curate pieces that are contemporary with a classic feel,” she said. 

Also in the neighborhood, Antique Gallery and Bird in Hand Consignment Shop specialize in buying and selling estate jewelry. Antique Gallery is located at 8523 Germantown Ave.;  Bird in Hand Consignment Shop at 9 W. Highland Ave.