Underwood Jewelers: Our History
Underwood Jewelers was founded in 1928 by industry legend Herbert F. Underwood. Underwood's started as a diamond and watch store in Palatka, Florida, just prior to The Great Depression. However because of great skills in buying and selling diamonds and a lot of hard work Underwood expanded to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1940; even though the Depression was still going on. At the start of World War II Mr. Underwood sold the Palatka store and consolidated in Jacksonville.
Mr. Underwood continued to grow the downtown business each year but also kept a keen eye on other potential locations around Jacksonville. In 1953, in an unprecedented move for a downtown retailer, Underwood's opened its first branch store in San Marco. Underwood's continued its growth into 4 more stores through the 60's and 70's using television advertising as a means to educate customers and build their trust. While this was happening Herb Underwood served the jewelry industry as President of Jewelers of America, and served on other national boards like the American Gem Society, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, The Florida Jewelers Association and the Florida Retail Federation.
In 1974 Mr. Underwood decided to sell his business to one of the oldest and most respected family jewelry business in the country, Bromberg and Company. The Bromberg family jewelry business was founded in Alabama in 1836 and is the oldest business in that state. They also ranked as the second oldest continuously running family retail establishment in the United States. Frank Bromberg, Herb Underwood's long time friend urged him to stay active in day to day operations, which he did until 1980. He then worked with Clayton Bromberg in a training and supervisory role until the younger Bromberg was made the President of the firm in 1988. In 1989, Mr. Underwood was recognized for his contributions to the jewelry industry when the American Gem Society honored him with the Shipley Award. Herbert Underwood passed away on July 4, 1998.
Clayton Bromberg, like Herb Underwood before him, serves and has served on jewelry industry boards such as Jewelers of America, American Gem Society, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Florida Jewelers Association, The Better Business Bureau and served as President of the American Gem Society from 1995 until 1997. He also has served on the American Gem Society Laboratory Board since 1996 and currently serves as its chairman. In 2001 under Clayton Bromberg's leadership Underwood's was designated as the first charter member of Leading Jewelers of the World. In 2003 Underwood's and Clayton were recognized for their dedication to the jewelry industry at large and inducted into the National Jewelers Hall of Fame. In 2004, Clayton was the recipient of the single most prestigious award in the jewelry industry- The Robert M. Shipley Award. This award is conferred annually to an individual for outstanding service to the American Gem Society, significant contributions to the science of gemology, and for exemplifying the high purpose, objectives, and ideals of AGS in the recipients community.
Underwood's is a cutting edge fine jeweler that is well known and respected in the national and international jewelry industry for our quality operation. We are annually named by the readers of Folio and Jacksonville Magazine as Northeast Florida 's Finest Jeweler. This has been accomplished by selling high quality jewelry, watches, silver, china and giftware.
Underwood's operates three distinctive stores in the Jacksonville area, all well stocked with merchandise and staffed by the largest AGS credentialed professional staff East of the Mississippi River.