Jessop's clock in Horton Plaza
The Jessop’s clock in Horton Plaza. Courtesy of Jessop’s

After 125 years, Jessop Jeweler, renowned as one of San Diego’s purveyor of fine jewelry, estate jewelry,  and diamonds is closing its doors.

James “Jim” Jessop, the last family member in the business, announced his retirement to customers last week, and will shut down the Emerald Plaza during 2018.

“I’m going out with a huge closeout sale starting Nov. 17,” Jessop said. “We’re discounting our large selection of custom, estate and antique pieces by up to 70 percent. We’re expecting big crowds, and I’m looking forward to saying ‘Thank You’ to everyone who comes out for all their years of support.”

It was a tough decision for the fifth-generation jeweler. As the oldest family-owned business in San Diego, Jessop Jeweler’s success always intertwined with the growth of America’s Finest City. Though the store is expected to close shortly after the New Year, the family will continue to be a fixture in town, most notably as custodians of the famed Jessop’s clock, a designated historical landmark located in Horton Plaza.

“The reaction from friends, colleagues, customers and the very best jewelry professionals in the industry has included a mixture of shock, surprise and congratulations. I’m getting questions like ‘who will take care of my jewelry?’,” Jessop said. “Most of all, they are wishing me well for the new chapter I’ll embark in my life, and I’m grateful.”

Jessop Jeweler’s niche in estate and antique jewelry began with the original store’s opening in 1892. After purchasing such pieces from estates, individuals and other sources, Jim and his staff, who have worked together for more than a quarter of a century, carefully restored them for their new life. Jessop Jeweler’s bench jeweler, a key asset to this process, has also been a staple with the company for 17 years.

“I never knew what I may see on any particular day. I’ve had the privilege of finding some of the most exquisite and special artifacts in my 40-year career,” said Jessop, one of only about 450 accredited American Gem Society as a Certified Gemologist Appraiser worldwide. “Each had their own story, and I loved being able to bring them back to their rightful state for someone who will appreciate their quality.”

Many of these unique estate and antique pieces are included in the closing sale that opens to the public Saturday.

“I’ll miss seeing the thrill of clients when I help them find just the right piece; a piece they will love more and more for years to come,” Jessop said. “I remember one couple coming in separately for weeks without their significant other knowing to select the perfect anniversary gift. Both were thrilled, surprised and laughed when at their planned dinner when each pulled out the hidden gifts, both from Jessop’s. I’ll miss those stories, but so thankful for the memories!”

Jessop grew up around the family business, always knowing he wanted to become a jeweler. In elementary school he remembers watching his father, George, earn his graduate degree in gemology from the Gemological Institute of America. In junior high school he graduated to gift wrapping in the stores during Christmas holidays; Jessop eventually became president and owner of Jessop Jeweler.

The store has become a well-known fixture in the San Diego community since his great-grandfather, Joseph Jessop, opened the first location. At one point there were five locations across San Diego employing 180, including 11 Jessop family members.

“Jessop Jewelers has been a part of many people’s lives, touching them in many ways over the past 125 years. We are proud to be part of the history of this great city,” Jessop said.

Information on hours for Jessop Jessop Jewelers’ Going Out Of Business Sale is available at