Retailer Hall of Fame 2021: Terry Betteridge

IndependentsJul 22, 2021

Retailer Hall of Fame 2021: Terry Betteridge

Terry Betteridge descends from a long line of jewelers, but he’s put his own hallmark on the family business.

20210722_Terry NEW.jpg
Fourth-generation jeweler Terry Betteridge, owner of the Betteridge chain of jewelry stores, has been inducted into National Jeweler's Retailer Hall of Fame in the Multi-Store, Independent category.
Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in the print edition of the 2021 Retailer Hall of Fame. Click here to see the full issue.

Greenwich, Conn.—Fate will find you wherever you are.

Terry Betteridge was in the wilderness of British Columbia, Canada, working as a fishing and bow-hunting guide in the summer of 1975, when it came calling.

His father, Bert Betteridge, had suffered a heart attack and needed his son’s help to carry forward the age-old family jewelry business to future glory.

Terry had some big shoes to fill.

Generations of Jewelers
Family-owned jeweler Betteridge can trace its history back to 18th-century Birmingham, England.

At that time, notable silversmith John Betteridge crafted snuff boxes and match holders that were carried in the pockets of well-to-do Englishmen.

In 1892, the Betteridges crossed the pond. Goldsmith A.E. (Albert Edwin) Betteridge Sr. (lovingly known as “the Colonel”) and his wife Lucy were processed through Ellis Island the year it opened, two of millions of immigrants headed to America at that time.

The Colonel would go on to head the International Silver Factory in Meriden, Connecticut, known at the time as “Silver City.”

His son, A.E. Betteridge Jr., opened the first Betteridge jewelry store in the early 20th century in New York City, on Fifth Avenue and 45th Street. Another followed near Wall Street and Broadway in the city’s Financial District.

The family later opened a boutique in the Miami Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, a historic locale that has been frequented by stars like Judy Garland and Ginger Rogers, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Betteridge was a celebrated, high-end jeweler of the 1920s and ‘30s, crafting stunning Art Deco designs for the who’s who of the age.

After World War II, A.E. passed the baton to his son Bert, who had served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during the war.

The post-war boom had people moving out to the suburbs in droves and Bert saw an opportunity in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, purchasing W.D. Webb Jewelers and converting it to Betteridge Jewelers.

Bert would run the business for decades, until the summer of 1975, when he suffered that heart attack and made the call to his son, Terry, for help.

By 1978, Terry Betteridge was steering the ship, and he’s remained at the helm ever since.

The Great Unknown
Though Terry descended from a long line of jewelers, he once saw a different path for himself.

“When I was a little kid, I kind of wanted to be a forest ranger,” recalls Terry.

His love of all things wild started young and has stayed with him throughout his life. It makes sense because he’s a little wild himself.

“I’m kind of a risk-taker,” he says. “It could be at a craps table or at a cliff where someone says, ‘I wonder if you can dive off here?’ and I’m gone. I’ve done this all my flipping life.”

Terry channeled his love of nature into a degree in environmental science and considered becoming an environmental lawyer before the jewelry world came calling.

That was maybe for the best, he notes, because his life as a high-end jeweler has allowed him to contribute more to conservation efforts than he would have otherwise been able to do.

He’s donated more than 1,000 acres in the Northeast to a conservation organization. He has 2,000 acres of his own to tend in Vermont as well as around 700 in his home state of Connecticut, and a lumber mill.

Terry finds himself on his land in Connecticut one or two days a week, trimming the fields and building bluebird boxes.

“It does quiet the soul,” he says. “It’s good for you.”

Given his deep love of nature, it seems fitting that Terry would be on board with the growing sustainability efforts in the jewelry world, but it’s not quite that simple.

“It’s the cause of the moment to be sustainable,” he notes, but it, “seems a little artificial and nonsensical. What we do, the way we make our jewelry, we have done the same way for the past couple of hundred years.”

Sustainability is inherent in the existing Betteridge practices, says Terry, like recycling gold.

Terry recalls an anecdote he once heard about American automobile magnate Lee Iacocca visiting a Rolls-Royce factory.

A trailblazer in efficient production, Iacocca asked the president of Rolls-Royce about the last time the assembly line moved. “I believe it moved a week ago last Thursday,” he is said to have retorted.

It’s no different at Betteridge, Terry says, where speed and mass production are not concerns.

“It’s all about the craftsmanship and using these materials we already recycled. Diamonds are recut. Most of the things I get are from an estate,” he says, noting watches are the exception to that rule.

From a dollar-value perspective, a majority of his inventory is estate jewelry, he says.

“I love the old stuff. We’re the ultimate recyclers,” says Terry.

“Each time something is recycled, it picks up a little more history. Recycling infuses the piece with more importance.”

Expanding Horizons
Though Terry may not initially have pictured himself becoming a jeweler, when the opportunity arose, he took it and ran with it.

Under his fourth-generation watch, the family business has grown exponentially, expanding from a single store in Connecticut to affluent towns in Colorado and Florida.

If you can think of a chic American locale, there’s a good chance you’ll find a Betteridge there.

“We look at markets that will give us contact points with exceedingly good customers. These destinations do that,” says Terry.

In 2004, Betteridge acquired jeweler Gotthelf’s in Vail, Colorado, home to the notably fancy Vail Ski Resort. A hub for winter skiing and summer golfing, the small town attracts wealthy visitors year-round.

“I’m kind of a risk-taker. It could be at a craps table or at a cliff where someone says, ‘I wonder if you can dive off here?’ and I’m gone.” — Terry Betteridge

Betteridge met the previous owner, Paul Gotthelf, back in his foot racing days, crashing on Paul’s couch whenever he’d come into town for a race.

He’d also met the store’s employees, who knew and liked him, and he helped out behind the counter now and then, too. When his friend was ready to retire and focus on his mountain biking career, Terry bought the business.

Decked out in dark wood and rich leather, the store’s antler light fixtures are a subtle nod to the rustic mountain surroundings just outside the resort area.

In 2006, Terry got another call from a friend looking to retire and Betteridge made its way to Palm Beach, Florida, acquiring historic jeweler Greenleaf & Crosby.

The previous owner was a friend of Terry’s father, and later of Terry's, when the two shared a hotel room in Basel, Switzerland, during the watch show there.

The store reminded Terry of his own in Greenwich—antique, lovely, and unchanged.

20210722_Betteridge Vail.jpg
Over the years, Betteridge has expanded from one to four locations, opening this store in Vail, Colorado in 2004.

Founded in 1868, the jeweler had been a mainstay on Worth Avenue since the 1920s, as noted by its original Art Deco design.

Its mahogany cases and wall units date back to the days of Standard Oil founder Henry Flagler, whose 75-room, 100,000-square-foot Gilded Age mansion, now a museum, is just minutes away.

Notable for its estate pieces, as well as contemporary designers like Goshwara and Silvia Furmanovich, many of the Palm Beach store’s clientele are collectors with a fine eye. 

“Each time something is recycled, it picks up a little more history. Recycling infuses the piece with more importance.” — Terry Betteridge

Terry and the former owner shared a number of customers who summered in Greenwich and wintered in Palm Beach, so it was a good fit.

In 2014, Betteridge arrived in another well-to-do ski town, Aspen.

For Terry, though, there’s more to Aspen than skiing.

“It is a really, real town, not a ski town. It had been a mining town. It has all these historic structures all over the place, sandstone from the 1880s, and stories about various bank robbers escaping from their jails.”

“I got there and discovered the town is really charming. Beautiful.”

Filled with a love for the town, Terry heeded a friend’s suggestion when he said Aspen should be the next spot for Betteridge.

After a few offers, he acquired family-owned Hochfield Jewelers, located inside The Little Nell Hotel at the foot of Aspen Mountain, which he describes as the go-to place for the town’s social events.

After plotting out his expansion, Terry turned his attention back home.

In 2015, the Betteridge flagship store in Connecticut moved down exclusive Greenwich Avenue to a space three times larger.

It features in-store Rolex, Cartier, and Patek Philippe boutiques and a club space, complete with a stocked bar for customers.

The Future of Betteridge
Betteridge is a family business that just keeps on rolling.

Terry’s son Win and daughter Brooke joined their father, marking a fifth generation of fine jewelers.

Win’s wife Natalie caught jewelry fever as well, working in the store and once writing her own jewelry blog. Avid readers visit the store to see her in particular, says Terry.

It’s a feat to be proud of, says fellow fourth-generation jeweler Lee Berg, founder of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, a nine-store family-owned chain based in Louisiana.

A friend of Terry’s for more than 40 years, Berg describes him as “fun-loving” and “somebody who runs an outstanding business.”

“In my eyes, Betteridge is an institution within our industry,” he says.

“Terry’s done an outstanding job of taking a family business and continuing to grow it in a fashion that would make the family proud.”

As much as the business has grown, the perks of being family owned is what keeps Betteridge a private company.

Though Terry says he has fielded offers from the likes of Tiffany & Co., there’s a certain freedom in being able to make your own decisions.

20210722_Betteridge Aspen.jpg
Betteridge’s store in Aspen, Colorado is located inside The Little Nell Hotel at the foot of Aspen Mountain.

Family-run businesses have a strong connection to their surrounding communities and get to be a part of their customers’ lives, an aspect of the job Terry values.

“Betteridge is an institution within our industry. Terry’s done an outstanding job of taking a family business and continuing to grow it in a fashion that would make the family proud.” — Lee Berg, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry

“You meet people at very good times, when they’re buying for an anniversary or an engagement ring. It’s one of the coolest times in someone’s life, when everything is good, essentially,” he says.

“They’re young and hopeful. They haven’t become old and jaded and shopworn like I have,” he jokes.

Terry’s made a lot of friends over the counter through the years, even meeting his wife that way.

“You become a part of the community in a very real way,” he says.

Decades into his career, as he transitions into, as he puts it, an “old bird,” community outreach has become an increasingly important way for him to give back.

He works with the Greenwich beautification group, a mix of “cool characters,” who plant flowers and back various efforts to keep the town pretty.

“I love that. It gives me a reason to live,” he says.

With hundreds of years of history behind him, Terry foresees Betteridge staying the course in the years ahead, continuing on its jewelry journey—which is catering to sophisticated clientele in lovely locales.

“We don’t seem to have a lot of imagination,” jokes Terry. 
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

The Latest

De Beers CEO Al Cook and Signet Jewelers CEO Gina Drosos
SourcingMay 24, 2024
Signet, De Beers Have a Plan to Promote Natural Diamonds

The two industry giants are working together on a new marketing campaign.

Stock image of a diamond engagement ring
SourcingMay 24, 2024
De Beers’ Sales Slide in Fourth Round of Sales This Year

The company sold $380 million in rough diamonds, compared with $479 million in the same period last year.

Tiffany Venetian glass bead ear clips
TrendsMay 23, 2024
State of Jewelry Design: 3 Themes That Will Shape the Next 5 Years

Color, storytelling, and the use of nonconventional materials are the signatures of today’s most innovative and influential designers.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Van Cleef & Arpels tie necklace
AuctionsMay 23, 2024
Sotheby’s to Offer Rare VCA Necklace, ‘Lavender Dream’ Diamond

A tie necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels and a pinkish purple diamond are highlights of the upcoming New York jewelry auction.

Weekly QuizMay 23, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these seven questions.
Take the Quiz
Inoveo Platinum
MajorsMay 23, 2024
PGI to Debut New Platinum Alloy in Las Vegas

Inoveo Platinum will be distributed exclusively by Stuller in the U.S.

Alan Hart Headshot
MajorsMay 23, 2024
Gem-A CEO Alan Hart Resigns

He is stepping down in August after eight years as CEO.

Royal Chain gold chains
Brought to you by
Record Gold Prices Have Consumers Undeterred. Here’s Why.

Despite the rising prices, consumers continue to seek out the precious metal.

Rose cut arch cabochons Columbia Gem House
SourcingMay 22, 2024
State of Colored Stones: Why the Market Is More Colorful Than Ever

As prices of “The Big Three” skyrocket, supply dwindles, and focus on sustainability grows, an age of open-mindedness is dawning.

The Eden Rose, a 10.20-carat fancy intense pink diamond
AuctionsMay 22, 2024
Christie’s Website Back Online, Announces Plans to Auction 10-Carat Pink Diamond

The fancy intense pink “The Eden Rose” is estimated to sell for up to $12 million at the New York “Magnificent Jewels” sale next month.

Pandora Essence jewelry
CollectionsMay 22, 2024
Pandora’s New Jewelry Collection Reimagines the Essentials

The “Pandora Essence” collection brings a contemporary and sculptural feel to staples like gold hoops and pearl necklaces.

Instore show 2024
Events & AwardsMay 22, 2024
InStore ‘Cram Day’ To Focus on Lab-Grown Diamond Education

The limited-seating learning event precedes its second annual trade show, which starts Aug. 11.

Dame Shirley Bassey’s
AuctionsMay 21, 2024
Dame Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Ready for Their Encore

Sotheby’s will auction jewelry belonging to the “Diamonds Are Forever” singer in Paris this October.

National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsMay 21, 2024
Successful Vendor Relationships: A Win-Win Approach

Sherry Smith shares tips for fostering successful vendor-retailer partnerships, from marketing investment to fast-seller replenishment.

Studs pop-up
MajorsMay 20, 2024
Studs Opens Luxury Piercing Pop-Up in NYC

“Fancy Studs” will feature revamped branding and a new lab-grown diamond fine jewelry collection.

Nivoda executive team at table
SourcingMay 20, 2024
2 Business-to-Business Platforms Secure Millions in Funding

Nivoda and Liquid Diamonds both have big plans for the new capital.

Stuller Packaging & Displays 2024-2025 catalog
MajorsMay 20, 2024
Stuller Issues New Packaging & Display Catalog

The 2024-2025 edition features new colors and styles, as well as storytelling elements.

Elephants wading in the Okavango Delta in Botswana
SourcingMay 20, 2024
State of the Diamond Industry: Botswana Beyond Diamonds

From moringa to ecotourism in the Okavango Delta, the country and its leaders are exploring how Botswana can diversify its economy.

Rough diamonds from De Beers
SourcingMay 20, 2024
Anglo American Confirms It Is Looking to Sell De Beers

The mining giant also wants to offload its platinum business as part of an overhaul designed to “unlock significant value.”

Buccellati jewelry
FinancialsMay 17, 2024
Richemont Appoints Van Cleef & Arpels’ Nicolas Bos as New CEO

The announcement coincided with its full-year results, with growth driven by its jewelry brands.

Watches of Switzerland Mall of America store
FinancialsMay 17, 2024
Watches of Switzerland’s Fiscal-Year Sales Flat

Looking ahead, the retailer said it sees “enormous potential” in Roberto Coin’s ability to boost its branded jewelry business.

My Next Question webinar series graphic
Recorded WebinarsMay 17, 2024
Watch: Preparing for Trade Show Success

Jewelry trade show veterans share strategies for engaging buyers, managing your time effectively, and packing the right shoes.

Cartier ring-tailed lemur brooch circa 1991
AuctionsMay 17, 2024
Piece of the Week: Cartier’s Ring-Tailed Lemur

This little guy’s name is Ricky and he just sold for more than $200,000 at Sotheby’s Geneva jewelry auction.

202.18 carat fancy intense yellow diamond The Yellow Rose
AuctionsMay 16, 2024
Christie’s Holds 2 Sales Despite Cyberattack

Though its website has been down for a week, Christie’s proceeded with its jewelry and watch auctions on May 13-14, bringing in nearly $80 million.

The Allnatt yellow diamond
AuctionsMay 16, 2024
Sotheby’s Withdraws 101-Carat Yellow Diamond from Auction

Despite the absence of “The Allnatt,” Sotheby’s Geneva jewelry auction totaled $34 million, with 90 percent of lots sold.

National Jeweler columnist Lilian Raji
ColumnistsMay 16, 2024
The PR Adviser: What the Designer Should’ve Done

Lilian Raji gives advice to designers on how to make the most of great publicity opportunities.

Mothae Diamond Mine Lesotho
SourcingMay 16, 2024
Lucapa to Shed Stake in Lesotho Diamond Mine

The mining company wants to divest its 70 percent holding in the Mothae Diamond Mine in an effort to streamline its portfolio.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy