Bailey Banks & Biddle is Back in Philly!

Who knew?

Remember Bailey Banks, & Biddle? The iconic jeweler that was around forever, then sadly closed its doors last year, a seeming casualty of the economy? Well, today, we learned a few very fascinating things about them that we had weirdly never heard before, despite our proclivity for knowing about all things shiny — and, therefore, purveyors of all things shiny — and a childhood that involved accompanying our father to BB&B to pick out extra shiny things for our mother. Like:

1) It was founded in 1832 — here! In Philly. On Chestnut Street. They are supposedly the oldest U.S. jeweler in the country.

2) The house has a history that includes designing big-time military medals like the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Congressional Medal of Honor.

3) It never actually went away, they just regrouped — and the company is now being run by Paul Leonard, the same guy who fixed it up and polished it up in the mid ’90s.

So anyway, the important — and lovely — thing is that they’ve returned, right back to the King of Prussia mall where they used to be (Plaza, first floor, just outside Nordstrom), and right in time for the holidays. (It is, right now, one of only five stores that they’ve re-opened so far, though they’ve got plans for another five to ten next year, with 50 by 2015.)

Their new model is founded on including the best parts of online shopping — specifically the price points and plethora of selection right at your fingertips — with the personal in-store experience via the new “Bailey’s Design Studio,” which involves a big, comfy leather chair and an iPad for sifting through hundreds of gorgeous settings and over-25,000 breathtaking stones, and then marrying them (pun intended) together into the perfect ring (yes, this works for bands, too). Because they don’t purchase the diamond from the vendor until a customer declares it theirs, it keeps costs down — for them, and as a result, for you.

There is also, of course, a beautiful selection of finished jewelry — earrings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and the like in precious metals and precious stones, all perfect for wedding-day pieces or anniversary gifts or general wish lists. And you have to admit — now that you know their history, those things look even shinier, don’t they? The Plaza at King of Prussia, 610-265-1369,

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