The 'Barefoot Jeweler' Can Rock Your World
Watches, gems and good vibes are at Bill Green's Haddonfield jewelry shop.
If you’re looking for trendiest bit of jewelry, perhaps an S-shape of diamond chips or a mass-produced pendant, head to the mall or an adjacent free-standing store.
If your search is for exquisite items that you won’t see on anyone else, you won’t have to go any further than Jewelry & Timepiece Mechanix on Ellis Street, just off of Kings Court in Haddonfield.
Shop owner and jewelry designer Bill Green sits comfortably in his modern, brightly lit shop, ready to handle issues as minor as a scratched watch crystal or as significant as an individually designed item, created to bring a memory to a special event.
Green calls himself the barefoot jeweler, and he is, padding around shoeless on the stone floor of his shop. In an earlier part of his life, Green was a roadie on national tours with performers.
“I did everything from being a gofer to setting up the lights and sounds. My job was to be sure that whoever was on stage was the only thing you saw. If you saw me, I wasn’t doing it right,” he said.
Today he has the room to promote a significant online business and to provide master watch-making and repair services through his long-time friend Tom Fried.
Green said that while he can repair watches, Fried can create them. “You come to Tom with an idea for a watch and he’ll make it for you,” he said, adding his company has created watches for international music performers.
If you just want to stop in and chat, Green will lead customers and friends to what he calls the rock 'n' roll lounge, decorated with posters and some memorabilia. He’ll invite you to have a cup of coffee while you visit.
A merchant in Haddonfield for more than 20 years, Green moved into his present spot a little more than a year ago. The former home of an interior design firm, the storefront at on Ellis Street, at the edge of Kings Court, retains some special architectural features.
It’s the third location for Green, 50, a Cherry Hill resident who began in a shop behind Jay West Bridal shop, facing the parking lot and later moved to a Kings Highway storefront.
“We buy, sell, repair and restore jewelry, both for walk-in clientele and people around the globe,” said Green. His parents were in the jewelry business, owning more than 10 stores as far south as in the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township, to Easton and Reading, PA.
In those days, Green said, the businesses were known as Jack of Diamonds.
“My dad was the Jack of Diamonds. I was the Bill of Sale. It was one of those monikers that followed me like a bad scent,” he said.
A breakup of the family business left the name behind, Green said.
A creative eye
He’s always loved the designing part of the jewelry business.
“People walk in happy, and I get to make them happier,” Green said of creating special pieces for events like engagements, anniversaries and birthdays. “There’s really nothing I can’t design around,” he said, commenting that jewelry items carry their own aura of memory.
A parent, for example, might purchase a charm for a young girl that ultimately will be worn on a heavier chain or bracelet and will help the wearer remember where and when she received it.
He and Fried don’t limit their repairs to high-end items, he said.
“You might come in with a Mickey Mouse watch you got as a child, something that wasn’t really made to be repaired, but we’ll do it to keep the memory alive,” he said.
Green says men today are buying more jewelry for themselves, often prompted by the women in their lives. Formality is making a return, he said, with more men buying cuff links than in the recent past.
Newer alternative metals for men’s jewelry, like stainless steel, also have an impact on the market. “We can make a polished stainless steel bracelet for about a third of the cost of 14-karat white gold,” said Green.
Similarly watches “bring back memories almost as viscerally as cologne,” he said.
Some of the items in locked cases in Green’s shop are stunning, such as a $22,000 green and white gold necklace with diamonds supporting an acorn called Squirrel's Delight. A less expensive pendant is called Not Far from the Tree.
There’s also a 14-karat gold breast cancer awareness brooch for $7,500 that includes diamonds, tourmalines and rubies on the hand-enameled traditional ribbon form.
Popular pieces designed, trademarked and copyrighted by Green are pretzel jewelry pieces in gold, gold over sterling, a sterling silver. They’re a good gift for anyone from the Philadelphia area who hungers for soft pretzels. Bits of diamond replicate salt crystals and prices are in the $400 to $450 range.
In the same case are sea shell charms, suitable for either a bracelet or a chain.
Green also sells Skagen watches, manufactured by the company made famous for its Swiss army knives. The knives are there as well, beginning around $30 and appropriate for engraving, an appropriate wedding party gift.
Brides can choose faux pearl bracelets on stretchy bands, available in a range of colors, at $41 for their attendants.
A full range of colored garnets is on display as are macrame bracelets made in Kenya by a fair trade company.
“If what I sell isn’t different, you can go to the mall. Having what everybody else has is easy,” said Green.
Green’s shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and usually has extended hours during the Christmas holidays and on most of Haddonfield’s First Fridays.