Designer Gold Looks to Its Future and Its Past

Only a handful of family-owned retail businesses remain in downtown Hanover NH. Designer Gold is one of them, and is currently marking its 40th anniversary. Owner and jewelry designer Paul Gross and his wife and store manager, Peggy Sadler, are hosting a party for the public on October 27.

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While celebrating its history, Designer Gold is also looking forward to its future. The store currently features fine jewelry handcrafted by Gross as well as works of other craftspeople. As of January 1, 2018, Gross intends to return to his roots and will showcase and sell only his own designs.

Gross grew up in Bennington and St. Albans, Vermont, and attended Dartmouth College, obtaining a degree in psychology in 1973. A chance encounter at Dartmouth’s Claflin Jewelry Studio during his first week on campus determined his career. His initial interest led to a job there as a student assistant; Gross spent much of his undergraduate days learning and working at the studio. After graduation, he spent two years teaching in the Lebanon NH schools, and some time as a jewelry craftsperson in Maine and in Chicago.

He returned to the Upper Valley after being offered a two-year interim directorship of the same Claflin Jewelry Studio that had claimed his time while a student at Dartmouth. The job gave him the opportunity to develop his skills and to plan for the next steps in his career. He opened his own studio, Electrum, in 1977 in a former rooming house on Hanover’s South Main Street, with a partner and little capital. In 1984, he renamed it Designer Gold, and in 1990 moved the business to its present location on the second floor of Hanover Park.

Art resting in the artist’s hand. Pendant, Dark Matter II, onyx, diamond and pearl

Peggy Sadler, Paul’s wife of 36 years, is a retired teacher. An earlier attempt at working together in the family business had been less than successful, both Gross and Sadler admit, now laughing. The second time was the charm, when Sadler became Designer Gold’s manager in 2006.

Gross and Sadler, individually or together, have been mainstays in the world of the arts and community in the Upper Valley, contributing to Opera North and the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon NH. Gross has served as a treasurer for WISE, and for Northern Stage, where Designer Gold has underwritten productions. 

Designer Gold’s contributions to small town life (though its customers are also worldwide) have been more personal as well. According to Gross, 40 years in business means he has served 3 generations of Upper Valley residents on happy occasions such as birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. As for wedding and engagements, Gross says “Often we are the first to know.”

The anniversary celebration will take place on October 27 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Designer Gold in Hanover Park at 3 Lebanon Street in Hanover NH. The public is invited.


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Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge


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