I found this baby ring a few weeks ago in its original box, which is always a splendid bonus. When I looked up the company name on the box I was delighted to find some old photos of the jewelry storefront as well as information about the owner.
Joseph C. Herkner and his family arrived in America from Bohemia (Czech Republic) and settled in Grand Rapids, MI in the mid 1800s. The young Herkner trained as a watchmaker and then served several years as a soldier during the Civil War. He opened his own jewelry shop in 1870 with a modest stock and a repair bench. He was a well respected figure in Grand Rapids until his death in 1914 and people in the community considered his shop to be the epitome of quality. What I would give to walk up those steps and open the doors . . .
It is pretty incredible to think that this ring was once for sale inside this shop, sitting on a counter somewhere or maybe even in the window display. Who would have guessed that nearly 100 years later it would be offered for sale again in my little virtual shop. I wonder what Mr. Herkner would think about that.
Images via historygrandrapids.org