Our Jewelry Store History: Sarah and James Ballew

diamond ring jewelerBallew Jewelers and Reussilles’ Jewelers, two of the state’s oldest jewelry businesses, were founded just one year apart by two brothers, Alphonse and Leon De La Reussille of Switzerland. The first Reussilles’ store, founded by Alphonse De La Reussille in 1885, was purchased by James and Sarah Ballew in 1925 and renamed Ballew Jewelers.

Sarah Ballew had been an English teacher and principal of a Junior High School in Red Bank before she took over management of the business in 1930. (Not only was Sarah one of the few women to be running their own business in the 1930’s, but she was also the first female Gemologist in the state.)

Ballew Jewelers moved to its present location at 5 West Main Street in 1959 from the original store at 13 West Main Street. By the time a stroke forced her to retire around 1970, Sarah had devoted 40 years to the business

James and John Ballew: The Next Generations

James Ballew Jr. began in the business after graduating from Cornell University in 1953 and is one of a few Certified Gemologist-Appraisers in the state. Still active in the business, James has devoted outside time to the town through over 25 years on the Planning Board, participation in Rotary and the Board of Directors of a variety of organizations, including Freehold Area Hospital.

John Ballew, James’ son, joined the business after graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 1977 with a degree in Business Management, and is the current owner. John has also devoted time and energy to the community, highlighted by 8 years on the Freehold Borough Council, and he is one of the founders of the Special Improvement District in downtown Freehold.

Reussilles’ of Red Bank

bench jeweler polishing diamondLeon De La Reussille founded Reussilles’ Jewelers in 1886 at 12 Broad Street in Red Bank. The ‘lollipop’ sidewalk clock in front of Reussilles’ has been a community landmark since 1902, one-year after the business moved to its present location at 36 Broad Street.

Once considered the borough’s official timepiece, residents and merchants have set their watches by it for over 90 years. The Ballews’ purchased their second Reussilles’ store in 1984 and have continued the name and tradition founded by Leon.

Ballew’s & Reussilles’: A Tradition of Fine Jewelry Continues
Today, Ballew’s and Reussilles’ enjoy a well-earned reputation for quality and integrity. As one of the select few to belong to the American Gem Society, we feel a personal responsibility to our customers.

Each store has a full service shop of jewelry repair, hand engraving and pearl restringing, and our Rolex and Ebel certified watch repair shop is located in the Freehold store. Our incomparable inventory ranges from colored stones, cultured pearls and gold jewelry from the basics to the unusual, but always with the quality that has personified our reputation.

Diamonds from .05 ct. to 5.00 ct. are always in stock as well as an outstanding collection of watches, including Ebel, Movado, Tag Heuer, Krieger, Esquire and Pulsar. Our estate and antique jewelry department is highlighted by our annual showings and is constantly changing.

Overall the Ballew family and their staff of professionals take pride in providing the finest quality at exceptional prices, and for over 110 years have been the right jeweler for the right reasons.

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