Rhode Island: The Jewelry Capital
The jewelry industry that we know today, highlighting precious metals, became a viable industry in southern New England beginning in the 18th century. Crossing the border between Attleboro, MA and Providence, RI, craftsmen, metallurgists, tool makers and entrepreneurs established this trade in the area, originally forming metal into silver buttons for Revolutionary War officers’ uniforms. Hard work, creativity and apprenticeship were the foundation of this burgeoning industry that has continued to this day.
The first known jeweler and watchmaker to set up shop was Seril Dodge, who was in business in Providence by 1784. 10 years later, his nephew, Nehemiah went from making gold jewelry to being the first manufacturer of rolled plated gold in Attleboro, where generation after generation of my family developed their succession of businesses, beginning in 1880s, focusing on mill forms such as wire, casting grain and tubing as well as findings or jewelry parts.
My great-great-grandfather, Edwin Leach started Leach & Miller which made really fun and elegant art deco style jewelry such as the bracelet in the image below.
At the early age of 23, my great-grandfather, Edwin F. Leach started Leach and Garner Co, which produced primarily precious metal findings, which are parts of jewelry such as clasps, beads, etc, as seen below.
My grandfather, Philip Leach succeeded his father running Leach and Garner Co., then my father, Edwin F. Leach II (Ted) took the reins. Ted is seen below (on the right) in the early 1980s working on a photo shoot with Leach and Garner tubing, a model and the incredible photographer, Richard Avedon.
After several years in the fashion industry, the traditions and skills that I had grown up with drew me to Rhode Island as I was developing my jewelry line. The genetic pull was magnetic, creating a fifth generation in the industry, but with my own viewpoint. The finest craftsmen are still here and having my suppliers and factories so close allows me to oversee the details of the entire collection. I am proud that the HAVERHILL line is based in Rhode Island, but even more excited that I am close to the knowledge and advice of my jewelry industry family.