A popular marketing phrase for many smallish municipalities in the world proclaims that such-and-such a town is, “The biggest little city you’ve never heard of.” You might paraphrase that sentiment and consider Charlton & Co. as one of the finest jewelers you’ve likely not heard of. In fact, the title of author Landon C. Hill’s 2006 book about Charlton & Co, underlines the company’s merited position in the pantheon of jewelers: Charlton & Co., a New York Jewelry Firm: America’s Cartier.
The house produced some of the most stunning Art Deco jewelry, and if you were to look at catalogues from Christie’s and Sotheby’s from the past decade or two, while you would not find a plethora of pieces, you would see that they consistently have commanded solid prices and are sought after by collectors. The company was founded in 1909 at 298 Fifth Avenue by John W. Charlton, who later took on two partners. When Charlton retired, one of those partners, Grant A. Peacock, Sr., changed the salon’s name to the eponymous Grant A. Peacock, but the company continued its well-established tradition of producing exquisitely designed and scrupulously crafted jewelry, with a distinctly Art Deco feeling.
So popular was the company’s jewelry that Peacock opened stores in Palm Beach and the Rue de la Paix in Paris. The firm still exists, now on Park Avenue and helmed by the next generation. Their bijoux, including lovely diamond-encrusted ladies’ evening watches from the jeweler’s heyday, are characterized by the use of very fine-quality stones, elegant design, and meticulous craftsmanship.