Molina’s brings luxury jewelry brand Black, Starr & Frost to Phoenix

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  • Black, Starr & Frost was founded in 1810
  • The new Black, Starr & Frost store is at 32nd Street and Camelback Road
Alfredo Molina, President of Black, Starr & Frost, presents the $4.5 million Empress necklace at Molina Fine Jewelers.

Alfredo Molina, whose ancestry in the jewelry business dates back to 1634, creates his own story by bringing America’s first jewelers, Black, Starr & Frost, to Phoenix.

Part of his Phoenix store, Molina’s Fine Jewelers, 32nd Street and Camelback Road, has been transformed into a separate 2,000-square-foot, two-story salon with its own entrance.

Scheduled to open Saturday, the new store is the second Black, Starr & Frost location. The flagship store is in Newport Beach, California.

The Phoenix store has the look and feel of the company’s first salons in New York with black and white flooring, silver accents and recessed display cases. It contains a showroom on the first floor and a private showroom on the second floor which provides a cozy living room feel.

“The whole concept is the experience…to make people feel like they’re coming to a private home,” said Molina, a world-renowned gemologist and jeweler who acquired Black, Starr & Frost in 2006. He is chairman of the society. .

While Molina Fine Jewelers is known for unique, museum-quality pieces, Black, Starr & Frost is about everyday luxury, Molina said. Prices start at around $700, with engagement rings starting at around $3,500, he said.

“What we’re trying to do is bring back American luxury,” he said.

Although Molina’s two stores are distinct, it’s easy to draw comparisons between them. Both are fine jewelry, but the parallels run deeper.

Both had philanthropic interests. Both bespoke jewelry. But more importantly, history is the backbone of every company’s success.

Black, Starr & Frost, the oldest continuously operating jewelry company in the United States, began in 1810 when E. Barton & Co. opened in Manhattan. From 1825 to 1957, a member of the Frost family worked there. Over the years, the company name has changed several times with the addition of new partners, corporate executives and acquisitions. The name Black, Starr & Frost got its start in 1874.

Black, Starr & Frost President Alfredo J. Molina and a team of artisans created the $4.5 million Empress necklace from 30 unheat-treated Burmese sapphires, 34 oval diamonds and 404 diamonds round in platinum mounts.

Molina, 56, is an 11th generation jeweler. He learned the trade from his grandfather who put him to work at the age of 8 in his company in Chicago. The Molina family’s jewelry history is international in scope, from its founding in Milan, Italy in the 1600s to stays in Spain, Cuba, and later the United States. Molina, who came with his family to the United States from Cuba in 1967 as part of a Catholic charity program, opened Molina Fine Jewelers in October 1987.

In addition to being considered America’s first jewelers, Black, Starr & Frost also has a history of other “firsts,” Molina said. The company was a pioneer in the use of bay windows, which contributed to the development of window shopping, he said. He was also among the first to use an American eagle as his logo, he said.

“Black, Starr & Frost is America’s story,” he said. “This company shaped America. They influenced presidents. They influenced the style.

According to “1810: Celebrating Two Centuries of American Luxury,” a book published by Black, Starr & Frost, the jeweler is also known to have sold jewelry to famous and historic figures, including Elizabeth Taylor and Mary Todd Lincoln, the latter reportedly owed the company $64,000 at the time of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Another notable: Black, Starr & Frost was mentioned in the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” from “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds,” a play starring Carol Channing that debuted on Broadway in 1949. A movie 1953 film of the same name starred Marilyn Monroe. Channing is due to participate in the ribbon ceremony at the new store on Saturday.

Molina is looking to expand the brand to other markets.

“I consider myself one of the stewards of the greatest brands that ever existed,” he said.

Alfredo J. Molina brings his high-end Black, Starr & Frost jewelry line to his new boutique at Molina Fine Jewelers.

Contact the reporter at [email protected].

History of Black, Starr and Frost

  • 1810: Isaac Marquand joins forces with Erastus Barton to found E. Barton & Co., the name of the company, in New York.
  • 1874: First use of the name Black, Starr & Frost.
  • Many name, location, expansion and partner/ownership changes over the years, including being owned by Kay Jewelers in the 1980s.
  • 2006: Phoenix jeweler Alfredo Molina acquires Black, Starr & Frost.
  • 2015: Molina opens a Black, Starr & Frost store in Phoenix.

Source: Black, Starr & Frost.

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