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Take a Spin

A Westerly jeweler pays tribute to a local landmark

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Take a stroll down Bay Street in Watch Hill and you may find that your eye is drawn to the window of James Gerrad Co., a jewelry store that has been a fixture in the exclusive seaside community for over a quarter of a century. Owner James Gerrad McNamara has both a skilled hand and an imagination to rival any other. In fact, he’s the brains behind the ever-so-charming carousel jewelry residing in that very window display.

“The Watch Hill carousel is the oldest flying horse carousel in the country,” McNamara states with pride in his voice. The landmark is said to have been built in 1876 and holds a unique history, including time spent traversing the country as part of a traveling carnival. “I thought it would be nice for people to have a memento [of the carousel] so I sat down with some master jewelers and figured out how to make something that would spin.” That was 30 years ago; the carousel charms, pendants and earrings are still selling strong.

“It was a tedious process – polishing and sanding and grinding and soldering – but all necessary, as it’s not just a generic carousel,” he says. “It’s an exact replica of our carousel and it’s a collector’s item that we ship all over the country and overseas.” The carousel-inspired jewelry comes in three sizes with either a pendant or a charm mount and is available in sterling silver and 14k gold – yellow, white and rose.