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History of the Riker Brothers

The Riker Brothers Firm, an American firm, was known for their work in plique-a-jour which included Art Nouveau styles, birds pendants and brooches. In the early years, they manufactured Masonic jewelry pieces, watch fobs and charms. In 1870, they included onyx and cameos to their Riker Brother jewelry collection and then platinum and gold. In 1916, they exhibited and included in their collection of jewelry, platinum with diamonds, pearls and gemstones. In 1801, Newark, New Jersey was the location to be for jewelry production in the United States. That is when the slogan, “made-in-America” came to be known. Gold and silver were the metals of choice at the time. Like many jewelry leaders, William Riker was born to immigrant parents. He was born in 1822 in Montclair, New Jersey. At the age of 15, he became an apprentice with Taylor & Baldwin and later with Downing & Hoyt in New York City. In 1846, the firm Riker and Tay was established when he became partners with George H. Tay. They bought out the firm of Bliss & Dwight to acquire their stock and much needed additional space for expansion. In 1849, Tay left the firm to become a gold prospector in California. Riker then became partners with Horace Goble. The company’s name changed to Riker & Goble. In 1859, the firm moved again. Goble retired in 1864. The sons of William Riker joined the firm and the company’s name changed to Riker Brothers. They moved to a new location. The father died in 1898 and William Jr. became the head of the company. The brother, Joseph Ricker, left the firm and became president of Newark Manufacturing Jewelers’ Association. The company moved to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1926 where it remained until the 1940’s.

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