Brown Goldsmiths began as a small business back in the sixties, founded by newlyweds Judy Libby Brown and Steve Brown. Though we’ve grown over 40 years, our customers are still treated with the same hands-on care and attention as when we first began. Brown Goldsmiths has been a member of the American Gem Society (AGS) since 1983.
Judy and I were both students at the University of Maine, when the idea to establish a jewelry business of our own first came to mind. While visiting my grandparents in Rye, New Hampshire, my grandmother suggested we visit an arts festival in Portsmouth. As luck would have it, we stumbled upon an artist who was just beginning a wax casting demonstration at the festival. The process involved using a centrifugal casting machine to melt the sterling silver into a mold. Within 3-4 minutes, the metal had been shaped and we witnessed a beautiful creation: sterling silver delicately cast in the wondrous form of miniature sea creatures. It was a life changing moment for us. Over the years, many of our creations have continued to be inspired by the imagery and movement of the sea and its creatures.
Soon after, we knew we had to get the wheels in motion to start a business of our own. Sterling silver wire was purchased. Crude tools were borrowed from our families. Judy already had the eye of a designer; I was a budding engineer; both skills being of equal importance in quality jewelry making. It was an exciting time for us. A time of great experimentation. A time of learning and growth. Wherever we moved, a workshop was soon set up in a hallway, backroom or sun porch of our string of apartments.
The next few years were busy for us, but our hard work and devotion paid off as we began to learn the ropes of the wholesale jewelry business. We displayed our creations at craft shows throughout the Northeast, hired a sales representative, and watched our dream of operating our own business become a reality. Having settled in Freeport, Maine, we needed to accommodate our budding business’s growth. When we initially rented space in the basement of the old Freeport Veterans building on School Street, we opened our doors to the public. Thus began the transition from a wholesale jewelry business to a retail jewelry business.
In 1971, Freeport’s old Masonic building on Mechanic Street went on the market. The Masons had constructed a new hall on Mallett Drive in Freeport. A friend suggested we purchase the conveniently located building, and voila, Brown Goldsmiths was established in its current location. The subsequent years involved implementing major changes to both floors of the Masonic Hall. Today the store consists of an intimate and elegant showroom on the first floor and a fully-equipped modern workshop on the second.
Over the years, we’ve had the good fortune to employ many gifted individuals who’ve helped increase our technical expertise, ensured impeccable design, and raised our understanding of quality jewelry making. Among them, special angels Loren Leong and Mr. William Kalich have helped us to achieve excellence in the industry. Leong, a bench jewelry and diamond setting instructor at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), has edified us with his knowledge of advanced gemstone and diamond setting techniques. Kalich, a former director of the Apprenticeship program at Tiffany & Company in New York City, graciously taught his design ideas and manufacturing methods to the staff. And we have always been grateful for the support, guidance, and blessings of our friends, colleagues, and neighbors both within the Freeport community and beyond.
We currently have four staff members who hold titles with the prestigious American Gem Society: Diane LeBlanc is a Registered Jeweler, Judith Brown is a Certified Gemologists, and Linda Chamberlain and Stephen Brown are Certified Gemologist Appraisers (two of four in Maine). In addition, Brown Goldsmiths maintains a fully equipped, American Gem Society Certified Gemological Laboratory.
We take pride in our one-of-a-kind designs and look forward to providing excellent jewelry and service well into the future.