HARWICH PORT, Mass. — It opened its doors more than 200 years ago, but come Saturday, it will be the end of an era for an iconic Cape Cod jewelry store.
Monahan & Co Fine Jewelers has been a mainstay on Harwich Port's Main Street for two centuries. But now, the jewelry store is cashing out for good.
The store has been in Michael Monahan's family for 203 years. His great, great-grandfather Jeremiah Monahan opened the store after emigrating from Ireland in 1815. He brought with him the Claddagh ring, becoming the first store in America to sell it.
The stores biggest seller was the Cape Cod bracelet, selling more than 1 million since 1950.
Customers have come from near and far to shop at the small store, including some big names. Among those celebrities: The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball and President Ronald Reagan. Monahan's all-time favorite customer was John F. Kennedy. Monahan used to caddy for the future president, who once bought his mother a Claddagh ring at the store.
The store even sold Claddagh rings to Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
"Ted Williams met Babe Ruth later and said, where did you get that ring? and he said that's a hitters ring because it had two hands holding a heart and a crown. He bought it because he thought it was a hitter's ring because he was the best hitter and my grandfather never had the heart to tell him it was an Irish Claddagh ring," said Monahan.
After seven generations running the store, none of Monahan's relatives were interested in taking it over. The company will, however, live on through the internet, thanks to his daughter.
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