Even if you can't afford a trinket at Shreve & Co. Jewelers, the history of this iconic location makes it a must-stop. From surviving San Francisco's Great Earthquake of 1906 to featuring in a pivotal scene in Woody Allen's Oscar-winning film Blue Jasmine, Shreve & Co. sparkles in more ways than one.
The flagship store of Shreve and Co. at Post and Grant in San Francisco. — Photo courtesy of Shreve & Co.
If you're in the market for quality jewelry, there's no better place than Shreve & Co. Their unmatched selection of Swiss timepieces, fine jewelry, and diamonds includes over 50 world-famous designers and watchmakers such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Fred Leighton, Mikimoto, and many others.
Shreve & Co. was established in 1852, just four years after the discovery of gold in the California hills. It was the dawning of a new era in San Francisco, and thousands were flocking to America’s “gold coast” to seek their fortune. George Coates Shreve and his half-brother Samuel S. Shreve were among them.
On March 19, 1906, the company made news by relocating to a beautiful new Beaux Arts building on the corner of Post Street and Grant Avenue. The new tower was named The Shreve Building in honor of its largest tenant, Shreve & Co.
The spacious and elegant Shreve and Co. — Photo courtesy of Shreve & Co.
It was a smart move. Just one month later, on April 18, 1906, a great earthquake rocked the city of San Francisco, putting the modern technology used to construct the 11-story Shreve building to the ultimate test.
Within minutes, the earthquake decimated the city. The retail district was in complete shambles, and the only surviving structure, The Shreve Building, was surrounded by rubble.
"Businesses have come and gone all around us," says Shreve & Co. General Manager Glen Ross. "But Shreve & Co. has remained the cornerstone of luxury shopping in San Francisco for over 160 years."
Throughout the 20th century, Shreve & Co. was celebrated around the globe for its innovative designs and impeccable craftsmanship.
The Rolex display at Shreve and Co. — Photo courtesy of Shreve & Co.
Shreve’s numerous commissions included a 10-inch replica of the Statue of Liberty, created from 14-karat gold for the wife of a foreign president; a silver sculpture presented to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany just one year before World War I broke out; and a golden champagne goblet presented to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903.
"Kings, queens, presidents and dignitaries of all kinds have been through these doors," Ross explains.
But even if you don't have the star power of Woody Allen – or the money of Kaiser Wilhelm – that doesn't mean you won't be welcome at Shreve & Co.