Our history begins in 1881, before the Statue of Liberty was complete, before the construction of the Eiffel Tower had started, and long before the first trip down the Panama Canal. Frank Maier, a German immigrant, opened Frank Maier Jewelry in a building that once housed a hardware store in downtown Bowling Green, Kentucky. With the goal of providing quality service and jewelry pieces that would last a lifetime to the people of Bowling Green, Frank began to build his business at the end of the Victorian Era.
In 1910, Frank sold the store to his son-in-law, Robert L. Morris who had been his apprentice in the business for some years. Morris remodeled the then thirty year old store and renamed it Morris Jewelry. Mr. Morris grew the business, and the name Morris Jewelry became synonymous with quality jewelry at a fair price from an honest jeweler. Morris transitioned the store through the Art Deco period of jewelry to what would be coined the Retro jewelry period of the late 30’s and 40’s and into the artistic jeweled designs of the post war 50’s. During his tenure, new diamond cuts were introduced to accentuate the geometric taste of the period, including the emerald cut, triangle cut, trapeze cut, and marquis cut.
Robert owned Morris Jewelry until 1956, when he sold the business to Bob and Lillian Kyle. Zip codes weren’t even in existence at the time! While the women of the world were swooning over Elvis, the Kyle’s continued to put the same heart and commitment into Morris Jewelry that Mr. Morris had himself. They appreciated the rich history that he and his family had worked so hard to build, and decided to maintain the Morris name.
The Kyle’s ushered the store through the changing climate of the next three decades. They saw the rise of Rock and Roll music with bands such as the Beatles in the 60’s, the bellbottom clad disco lovers of the 70’s, and the big hair of the 80’s. As the times changed, so did Morris Jewelry. Bob and Lillian were always keeping up with the newest and best innovations in the jewelry world. They even saw the development of the princess cut diamond during their tenure at Morris!
Continuing the Morris family tradition, the Kyle’s sold the store to their daughter and son-in-law, Charles and Robin Collins in 1991. The Collins’ operated the store through the 90’s and into the new millennium. Charles and Robin retired in 2006, selling the store to Michael and Sharon Barron. Michael is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army, and saw an opportunity to become a part of downtown Bowling Green with Morris Jewelry. Putting a focus on the community, Michael and Sharon worked hard to make the downtown area one full of fun and economic growth. While the Barron’s still play a role in downtown functions, they sold the store in 2013 to Jim and Samantha Steen. Jim had been managing the store for several years at the time, so Morris was already a part of his family.
Within their first year of ownership, the Steen’s launched morris1881.com to offer the amazing craftsmanship and personal service associated with Morris Jewelry to the world. Being only the fourth family to own the store in 133 years, they are proud to continue with the Morris name and reputation of quality and exceptional customer service. The legacy of Morris Jewelry is already rich with history, but we like to think that this is just the beginning of a new chapter in the ever growing tale of Morris Jewelry. We’ve been producing heirloom-quality jewelry since 1881, and we don’t have any plans on stopping.
We care about the person receiving the smile-inducing piece that comes from our store, whether it be an engagement ring, a Morris 1881 watch, or a sterling silver charm bracelet personalized just for her. We believe in making every customer part of the family; in caring about the people more than the transaction; in being your jeweler, and not just the place where you buy jewelry.