Jewelers Row: The Hidden Gem of Chicago

27 June 2019

 

Located on Michigan Avenue, 1000M is right down the street from Chicago’s most iconic destinations. Everyone knows and loves visiting Millennium Park or going shopping on Michigan Avenue and State Street—but just around the corner from those locales and 1000M is a hidden gem. 

 

Historic Jewelers Row

On South Wabash Avenue, between Monroe and Washington, lives Jewelers Row historic district. Jewelers Row is often referred to as “the diamond district of Chicago” because that stretch of street is home to nearly 200 unique jewelers from around the world, representing more than 33 countries. The shopping strip was an important cultural and economic institution for Chicago in the 20th century, when swanky tourists and city-goers came downtown in search of ultra-luxury shopping. On Jewelers Row, they could find any precious gifts they sought among a host of industry professionals, from stone setters, casters, polishers, designers, diamond retailers and watch repairers. 

 

A Chicago Landmark

The buildings that make up Jewelers Row were built between 1872 and 1941. Walking along Wabash Avenue, the architecture goes from Italianate to Chicago School to Art Deco, creating a dazzling display. Notable architects of the strip include Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, John Mills Van Osdel, Adler & Sullivan, Alfred Alschuler, D.H. Burnham & Co. and Holabird & Roche. Interiorally, many of the buildings feature post-Chicago fire loft style layouts, making them well worth the visit even if one isn’t looking for watches and diamonds. Because of its stunning architecture and deep-rooted history, Jewelers Row was officially declared a Chicago Landmark in July of 2003. 

 

A Dedicated Community 

The businesses and storefronts at Jewelers Row are passed down through generations. Through recent obstacles, the community there remains strong. In 2015, construction on a new CTA stop cast a shadow above the shopping strip and In April of 2018, a fire tore through the first five floors of Jewelers Center, a 14-story building housing many of the row’s jewelers. Still, the community rallied. Retailers found temporary sales space until their gorgeous art deco homes were rebuilt. And though recent generations created a decline in jewelry sales, the market is stabilizing once more as people return to valuing long-term, quality purchases. 

 

Visiting Jewelers Row, shoppers know exactly what they’re going to get: dedicated industry professionals, with generations of history and knowledge behind them, providing timeless jewelry in stunningly crafted buildings. With the row only a brief walk or ride from 1000M, a luxury shopping experience is always at residents’ fingertips.