Black, Starr and Frost

Founded 1810

Black, Starr and FrostBlack, Starr & Frost is one of the oldest operating jewelry houses in America. Founded in 1810 by Erastus Barton and Frederick Marquand it was originally named Marquand and Barton located near New York’s Maiden Lane. The firm added and lost partners numerous times; it also frequently moved locations, depending on the whereabouts of its prestigious clientele and carried an eclectic mix of lamps, jewelry, porcelain, paintings, and other art objects. In 1876 the firm moved to 251 Fifth Avenue, changed its name to Black, Starr & Frost and concentrated its inventory on jewelry and silver objects, some produced in-house, others imported from Europe.

That same year Black, Starr & Frost was invited to exhibit at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Fellow exhibitors included Tiffany & Co., Whiting, and Gorham. In 1929 Black Starr & Frost merged with Gorham to become Black, Starr & Frost-Gorham Inc. In 1939 the firm was one of only five American firms invited to exhibit at the New York World’s Fair, where they displayed large sculptural jewelry based on the bold Art Deco designs of the period. During these decades Black, Starr & Frost was considered one of the great American jewelry houses. Though never a true innovator, the firm nevertheless produced exquisite jewelry in the style of every era. In 1962 the firm again merged, this time with Marcus & Co. In the recent years the firm was bought by Alfredo Molina and closed its New York headquarters, the current flagship store is now in Costa Mesa, California.