Jessop's History

A San Diego Legacy

Jessop Jeweler has been the trusted source of diamonds and fine jewelry in San Diego for more than a century. Throughout its 125-year history, the company has gone through several transitions to better serve their clients, including ownership changes, name changes and store openings and closings. Through all these shifts, however, the philosophy of Jessop's has remained the same and today, the family continues to carry on a jewelry tradition that is unique in San Diego.

The company’s history in San Diego began in 1892 when Joseph Jessop, a watch maker from Lytham, England opened his first store at 1317 F Street in downtown San Diego. With ten employees working under his helm, Joseph continued to run the company for the next 40 years. By 1950, numerous family members were employed by the company in their five stores, including George Carter Jessop, San Diego native and grandson of the founder, who joined the family business after graduating from Stanford in 1949. By 1960, the company, had stores in North Park, Mission Valley, Grossmont Center, La Jolla and Escondido. It was ranked among the five largest privately owned jewelry retailers in the United States and its stores included more registered jewelers than any independent store in the nation.

In 1970, a pivotal change came when George Carter Jessop sold J. Jessop and Sons to Dayton Hudson Corporation, which today is known as Target Corporation, the second largest retailer in the United States. There were a total of seven Jessop’s stores at that time. The stores’ names were then changed to Jessop Jewelers. George remained employed by the new owners until 1973 when he left the company and established a new firm, George Carter Jessop & Company, opening his first store in downtown San Diego. The firm was incorporated in 1974.

That same year, George’s son James joined the family business and together continued to build a strong company. “My father knew everyone in town,” said James. “He created the sales while I handled the buying and store operations. It was a great partnership.”

In September of 1977, the family opened their second store under the George Carter Jessop Jewelers name at the Hotel Del Coronado and in 1981, its third store at the former Inter-Continental Hotel (both have since closed). In 1987, James purchased the stores from George Jessop. For the next ten years, George remained with the stores with active involvement in the community. In 1991, George and James moved their main store to 401 West C Street in downtown’s Emerald Plaza building, its current and only location. In 1997 James purchased the Jessop name back from the owners and the company was again changed to its current name, Jessop Jeweler.

Today, the operation of Jessop Jeweler is in the capable hands of the fifth generation of Jessop family member, James C. Jessop. The fact that the company has remained a family heirloom, prized and protected by successive generations, is a source of inspiration and pride to the Jessop family.

“We back our quality, our value, and most of all our integrity, with five generations of trusted jewelers and with an exceptional team of jewelry and diamond experts,” said James Jessop. “We are proud to be known as the best source of fine jewelry and diamonds in San Diego.”

His great grandfather Joseph Jessop would be proud too.

Armond and Joseph Jessop
in front of the first Jessop store.
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