In the picturesque town of Newport, Rhode Island, a tale of craftsmanship and passion unfolds. The story of J.H. Breakell & Co., a beacon of American Silversmithing, began in 1972. Founded by the talented silversmith James Breakell and his dedicated wife, Joan, the company has been a testament to the enduring allure of handcrafted jewelry.<br><br> James Breakell opened his first shop in Newport in 1973. However, it was the company's strategic expansion into mail order in the mid-1980s, along with their ads in prestigious magazines like the New Yorker and Smithsonian Magazine, that truly broadened its horizons, introducing a wider audience to its unique sterling silver and 14-karat gold designs. This move was a game-changer, with sales hitting record highs. From their two-building location on Newport's Spring Street, a dedicated team of 10 craftsmen/women created a catalogue of about 300 different jewelry pieces, managed customer service, oversaw shipping, and handled a myriad of administrative tasks.<br><br> Joan, with her innate sense of design, became the company's creative soul, especially after James faced challenges with his vision. She didn't just design; she breathed life into her creations. From the initial sketches to the final wax model, Joan was a maestro. Their pieces, particularly those from the golden era of the '70s and '90s, became collectors' treasures. Inspired by the serene beaches, lush gardens, and changing seasons of Newport, each piece was a reflection of nature's splendor.<br><br> One of their signature pieces, the broccoli pin, became an unexpected hit, especially among the elite of Park Avenue. Its fame skyrocketed when Jim sent one to Barbara Bush, leading to its inclusion in a display of gifts given to presidents at the National Archives. Another popular design is the annual snowflake, which has become a cherished collectible.<br><br> After over three decades in the business, the Breakells' enthusiasm remains as vibrant as ever. As Jim aptly puts it, "We still enjoy the business. It's fun, and that's why we still do what we do." Their journey, from a small shop in Newport to a renowned jewelry brand, is a testament to their dedication, craftsmanship, and the timeless appeal of handcrafted jewelry.