Al Molina Publishes ‘1810’ to Celebrate the History of Black, Starr & Frost

Comments Al Molina Publishes ‘1810’ to Celebrate the History of Black, Starr & Frost

Scottsdale, Ariz.–based Al Molina recently published a book on the history of Black, Starr Frost, a merchant that predates Tiffany Co. by 27 years.

Molina, owner of Molina Fine Jewelers, purchased the lone remaining Black, Starr Frost store in 2006, putting plans in motion to revive the forgotten retailer that was founded in New York City in 1810. Black, Starr Frost is the oldest continually operating jeweler in the United States, and its history is outlined and celebrated in a new tome entitled 1810: Celebrating Two Centuries of American Luxury, which is available on  (Authors are Landon J. Napoleon, Karen Danner, and yours truly.)

Molina, an 11th-generation jeweler, visited New York City recently to promote the book, and JCK chatted with him about it, a project that was eight years in the making.

JCK: What does the American public not realize about this brand?

Al Molina: Black, Starr Frost was—and still is—a trailblazer and an innovator in the jewelry industry we know today. Black, Starr Frost invented the safe deposit box system, the choker necklace, and was the first timepiece maker in America.

JCK: What is one of the most interesting factoids from the book?

Molina: Black, Starr Frost was the first to use plate-glass windows, showing magnificent jewelry to the outside world. We essentially created window-shopping.

JCK: What are your plans for Black, Starr  Frost?

Molina: My ultimate goal is to return Black, Starr Frost to its original home in New York City. It is my great desire for that to happen in the next three to five years. My goal is to have Black, Starr Frost represented in 12 to 15 cities within the next decade.

JCK: Besides the history of this brand, how will the revived Black, Starr Frost stores differ from Tiffany Co. and other luxury jewelers?

Molina: Tiffany, Cartier, and Harry Winston are most likely among the names you are describing, and those three luxury brands are billion-dollar companies today. As Marilyn Monroe sang in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, “Tiffany! Cartier! Black Starr Frost Gorham! Talk to me Harry Winston. Tell me all about it!” I expect that Black, Starr Frost will soon assume its place among these billion-dollar brands. Our practice is to exceed expectations in every way—from the moment a client walks into our salon through the years following their investment in Black, Starr Frost treasures.

We recently met with a dozen top editors of world-renowned publications and they were blown away by the history of our brand and plans for the return of Black, Starr Frost to the firm’s prior prominence. We are now working on a number of projects that will begin to tell the fascinating story of Black, Starr  Frost.


One-of-a-kind necklace from Black, Starr Frost with 95.49 cts. t.w. non-heat-treated, Burmese pigeon-blood-red rubies and 34.94 cts. t.w. D- to F-color diamonds took seven years to make and was completed in 2012 for a private collector.

Vintage photo of the Black, Starr Frost storefront on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1913

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