Growing up, Robert Mucklow always knew he was destined to work with his hands. As a child, he disassembled the clock from a fighter plane that his father brought home from WWII “just to see how it worked”. As he grew older, Robert’s interests expanded and he became heavily involved in film, photography, woodworking, and various other artistic endeavors. He ended up attending Southern Illinois University to pursue a degree in film studies. His interest in jewelry making was peaked however when his girlfriend, now wife, Priscilla was taking a jewelry making elective. Her handiwork inspired him to direct his creative juices to jewelry making. While it was too late to change his major, Robert minored in art with an emphasis in metalsmithing.
The Gypsy Circuit
Robert was working a factory job to pay off student loans by day, and at night, he was busy making unique, hand-crafted pieces of jewelry. After being encouraged by his family and friends, he submitted his designs for the annual juried art fair in his town. After much success with the first fair, Robert began showcasing jewelry at other art shows across the Midwest. This point in time marks the beginning of the major change in Robert Mucklow’s life: what once was a hobby was now stemming into a career. Besides the commercial success, he earned respect and accolades from the art community.
Robert Mucklow, Jewelry Designer
After awakening his seemingly innate skill, Robert began combing the classified ads looking for any position in the jewelry industry that might earn him decent enough wages with which he could support his family. His search proved fruitful: his first job was a jewelry polisher at a Chicago-based wedding band factory. Robert’s entry into the jewelry industry led him into a position whereby he could utilize his talents and expand his knowledge of fine jewelry design. He continued to burn the midnight oil creating his own designs, one of which landed him an invitation to represent the contemporary artist in the Chicago Historical Society’s “Chicago Metalsmiths: The History of Metalsmithing in Chicago” exhibit.
Robert Mucklow, The Retailer
He immediately left his job at the mass merchandiser as soon as he heard about a position with Rogers and Hollands, a Midwestern chain of jewelry stores. Robert was hired as assistant to the president of merchandising. Here he helped end the common practice of outsourcing repairs and he internalized all of the company’s repair and custom design abilities. During his time with the company, he was able to assist in opening 30 new stores. He was also given the opportunity to create new designs for the company’s in-house private label.
Robert Mucklow, the Fine Jeweler
Robert’s sister moved to Peachtree City, Georgia in 1978, a small community just south of Atlanta. After many frequent visits to the area, Robert fell in love with the south, and by 1986 had moved his family to Peachtree City. He became the head goldsmith with the venerable firm of Maier and Berkele jewelers, founded in 1887. He built the basement shop in the Buckhead location of Maier and Berkele and for four years did all the custom work and repairs for the chain.
Robert Mucklow, The Master Craftsman
In 1990 Robert’s reputation in the Atlanta area had grown so that he could divide his time between servicing Maier and Berekle and other outside accounts. Maier and Berekle allowed Robert to keep shop in the Buckhead store while also completing orders for other jewelers and private clients. It was during this time that Robert created his trademarked Remembrance Bracelet, a piece designed to memorialize his brother’s untimely passing from the AIDS virus. This piece also helped Robert decide that it was finally time to strike out on his own. The Remembrance Bracelet, after being shown on the Oprah Winfrey show, became a success and was sold in hundreds of locations nationwide. In 1994, Robert left the nearly 100 mile daily commute and moved his operation home.
The Birth of Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry
Moving his operations to his home studio allowed Robert the time to focus not only on his most recent project, the Remembrance Bracelet, but also to refocus time to an original design near and dear to his heart: The Circle of Love. Mother’s pendant and pin. Robert originally designed the Circle of Love to commemorate the birth of his first daughter Rachel. This classically designed piece honoring motherhood went on to win the award, “Designing Tomorrow’s Classics”. It was a feature piece that was sold in jewelry stores nationwide. Robert’s family fondly remembers this time of “home operation” meaning shipping and receiving was on the dining room table.
In the summer of 1996, Robert was presented a tempting offer. Although well entrenched in his current wholesale venture, the opportunity to open a boutique style retail operation in Peachtree City had come up. And so it began. . .
The Growth of Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry
From the beginning, Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry has been Robert’s labor of love. With his handmade showcases in the 130 square foot space in Canterbury’s Gift Shop, Robert was able to start small, but it became evident that he was onto something big. The community embraced him from the start, and two short years later Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry moved it’s operation to the Braelinn Village Shopping Center. This move allowed him space to showcase not only fine jewelry but also American crafts. But something was still missing. Robert wanted the outside of the building to reflect the handcrafted masterpieces that were inside. He bought the abandoned McDonalds property across the street from the Braelinn Village Shopping center, razed the structure, and built the beautiful Arts and Crafts style store where Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry resides today.
Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry Today
Robert continues to be fulfilled by what he has created. He enjoys serving his community and bringing beautiful jewelry and American crafts to the South Metro Atlanta area. Robert could never have imagined that his one time hobby could bring him so much happiness and success over the years. He feels so fortunate to not only be making a living doing what he loves, but he can do it with his daughter Rachel by his side. Robert, Rachel, and the entire Mucklow family are very thankful for the talented group of people that work with them to make Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry the wonderful place that it is.
“When Love and Skill Work Together, Expect a Masterpiece”