Caron Jewelers is a boutique storefront that has a decades-long history on the East Bay. We recently caught up with president Joe Caron and vice president Diane Catanzaro to learn more about how their past is shaping their future.
The Caron family has been in the jewelry business for 60 years. Tell us a little about the history of the business.
Joe’s parents Bertrand and Dorothy Caron first opened the store in 1956. Caron’s Jewelry and Gift Shop carried a variety of items like collar buttons, diamond rings, sterling silverware sets, watches and clocks. It was a full-service store serving the needs of the then-blue collar Bristol community. Bert and Dot operated the store until they retired in 1997. Joe purchased the business and operated it as Caron’s Jewelry and Vintage Guitars until 2006. Fast forward to 2014 when the opportunity arose to reoccupy the same space. We made the decision to reopen the present incarnation of Caron Jewelry.
What does Caron offer today?
We aim to have fashions and designs for all tastes and age groups. We offer exclusive designer jewelry from Doron Paloma, Marika, Nicole Barr and Michou. We offer high-end jewelry, watch and clock repair, custom design and fabrication and select works of art. We’re excited for a Rare Earth Mining trunk show in June, expanding our bridal line by adding Malo wedding bands, and continuing to bring in hard-to-find designers, like Color Merchants of NYC and Jonathan Lynne.
You both have unique and diverse backgrounds. Tell us how that works for your jewelry store.
Joe learned the art of watchmaking and repair in his early teens from his father. He attended the Bulova School of Watchmaking and also has a degree in gemology. His background enables to him to expertly work on custom jewelry designs, accurately appraise vintage pieces and grasp the finer points of mechanical watch repair.
Diane has a Masters in Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia with a specialty in printmaking. We actually feature her intaglio prints and notecards with her signature pencil renditions of Bristol landmarks in the shop. She has a great eye, artist’s eye. She creates our wonderful seasonal window displays. We love the positive comments we get about them from passersby and customers.
Custom design is one of your specialties. What are customers looking for with custom design?
Most of the custom designs we do are bridal and engagement rings. Not every bride wants a traditional diamond center stone in her engagement ring, and so we see unique requests that really personalize their jewelry. Some want us to incorporate heirloom stones from their mother’s or grandmother’s rings, or want a colorful center stone that reflects their personal tastes in color or birth month.
We also carry Diane’s custom-made Mt. Hope Bridge jewelry, an exclusive line that uses old bridge tokens to create unique charms, pendants and rings. Local residents and RWU students identify with it, and visitors to the area like it as a reminder of their visit.
Mother’s Day is coming up. What are you recommending as gifts?
One of our favorite pieces in the store right now is a Rare Earth pendant of platinum drusy with diamonds in 14kt yellow gold. We also love the Marika collection, which has some beautifully bold earring, necklace, and bracelet designs in 14kt white gold. Some of our other Mother’s Day picks are the seaside inspired Poseidon’s Treasures line from Michou, the convertible bracelets from LeStage by Marathon and Citizen watches. Our selection offers many affordable piece that suit a wide variety of styles.
You’re located in the heart of downtown Bristol. What do you love about the community?
What we love most about being business owners in the center of Bristol is being able to meet and get to know our customers personally while providing a trust-based service to the commuthBristol is an amazingly diverse community with a beautiful harbor, lots of history, arts, colonial architecture and great restaurants.
473 Hope Street