As they get ready to wrap up their shop's 125th holiday shopping season, Brad Parsons and Rich Yeakel are looking forward to the next 125.
Even if they're not making a big deal out of it.
"Obviously, we would like to think that the past will continue," said Parsons, co-owner of Marks Jewelers, 817 Mass. "Things have been great, and they're getting progressively better and better and better."
The store, opened by Sol Marks in the fall of 1880, is the 14th oldest independent jewelry shop in the United States, according to Jewelers of America, the national retail jewelry association in New York.
That's saying something, according to industry officials, considering that there are thousands of jewelers throughout the country - in malls, online and elsewhere.
"It's an accomplishment for Marks Jewelers to be around for 125 years," said Colleen Mathis, a spokeswoman for Jewelers Information Center, a New York-based tracker of trends and data for the fine jewelry industry. "With the competition out there in this day and age, both Jewelers of America and the Jewelers Association of America applaud them."
Look around the shop, and there are no outward signs of the shop's history - unless you count the original jewelry cases, woodwork and other fixtures installed by Sol Marks himself.
In the back, Parsons said, there are plenty of high-tech advancements - whether it's the computers, laser welders or other equipment - to go along0side traditional tools for custom jobs. The shop sells watches, makes custom jewelry and also can fabricate parts to repair grandfather clocks.
It's yet another unstated homage to Sol Marks, who used to repair watches for railroad engineers to help keep trains running on time.
"We're doing business right now, in 2005, the same way Sol Marks was doing it back in 1880, and that's based on honesty, integrity, no bells and whistles," Parsons said. "It's simply treating people the way they'd want to be treated."
Set in stone
Here are the 15 oldest independent jewelers in America, and the year each shop was established, according to Jewelers of America and its affiliate, Jewelers Information Center: 1. Bixler's, Easton, Pa., 1785. 2. Wise Jewelers, Mount Vernon, Ohio, 1826. 3. Merkley Kendrick, Louisville, Ky., 1832. 4. Broomberg & Co. Inc., Birmingham, Ala., 1836. 5. Randolph Jewelers, Placerville, Calif., 1852. 6. Hale's Jewelers, Greenville, S.C., 1856. 7. E.W. Parker Inc., Madison, Wis., 1857. 8. Morgan's Jewelers, Winona, Minn., 1862. 9. Schnack's, Alexandria, La., 1865. 10. Warner Co. Jewelers, Fresno, Calif., 1867. 11. Pilcher Jewelry Co., Mexico, Mo., 1868. 12. Wilshire Jewelers, New Hampton, Iowa, 1870. 13. Spertner Jewelers, Norfolk, Va., 1879. 14. Marks Jewelers, Lawrence, 1880. 15. N.B. Levy & Brother Jewelers, Scranton, Pa., 1880.