Born in Milwaukee and raised in the Chicago area, James Avery was first introduced to the scenic Texas Hill Country by way of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. As a cadet, he landed at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center at Kelly Field, known today as Lackland Air Force Base. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Avery completed pilot training and commanded a B-26 bomber, surviving 44 missions over Germany.
After World War II, he enrolled at the University of Illinois where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design. After graduation, he pursued college level teaching. While teaching at the University of Colorado, he explored jewelry-making techniques with his students.
In 1950, he began to consider leaving the teaching profession. It was also about this time he returned to the church after years of being an agnostic. He reflected on this saying, “My renewed Christian commitment, along with my new decision to leave teaching, led to a new direction in my life. This is the reason so much of my work is Christian symbolism.”
Mr. Avery never forgot the inspiring surroundings and the “can do” attitude he found in the people in the Texas Hill Country. In 1954, he and his wife returned and spent the summer visiting his n-laws in Kerrville, Texas. “It was during this time that I decided to go into business.”
In the summer of 1954, Mr. Avery started his jewelry business in a two-car garage with about $250 in
capital. He built a small workbench, bought a few hand tools and scraps of silver and copper. It was his
create jewelry with lasting value that was meaningful to him and
Just a few years later in 1957, he mailed his first Christian jewelry catalog. It was 16 pages and
featured 39 personally designed and handmade items. This was the year he hired his first employee,
The company grew and was incorporated to James Avery Craftsman, Inc. in 1965. Two years later, the company headquarters was constructed on 20 acres in Kerrville, not too far from that original garage.
Word spread and people found their way to the Craftsman in the Hills. Each Guest who came was greeted personally and with cordial gratitude. During this time, strong and lasting Customer bonds were developed – bonds on which the company would grow and build upon for more than half a century.
In 2007, fifty-three years after he first founded the company, James Avery officially stepped down as
CEO and passed the reins to his
Today we continue in the tradition of our founder and strive to create jewelry with beauty and meaning,
serve our Customers with graciousness and respect, give back to the communities where we do business and create a
supportive, inclusive environment where Associates work, grow and feel
James Avery is a vertically integrated, family-owned company located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. We offer finely crafted jewelry designs for men and women in sterling silver, 14K and 18K gold, bronze and gemstones. James Avery jewelry is designed and crafted by our own skilled artisans in Kerrville, Comfort, Hondo and Corpus Christi, TX using the finest materials sourced worldwide. We are a multi-channel retailer with over 110 James Avery stores in four states. Our jewelry is also available at JamesAvery.com, more than 250 Dillard’s locations and Dillards.com. You can also find our designs at airport stores in Austin, Houston and Nashville, and at the AAFES locations in Fort Hood, Fort Belvoir, Fort Sam Houston and Fort Lewis.