John Bosco: May 23, 1924 – December 14, 2016
The fine jewelry industry lost a local legend recently when John Bosco, arguably the oldest bench jeweler in the southeast, passed December 14, 2016 at the age of 92. Mr. Bosco worked nearly seventy years as a jeweler, only recently retiring two years ago at the age of 90 when his wife passed away.
To say he was in a league of his own is no overstatement. The talented bench jeweler is known for such fine jewelry craftsmanship as creating the commemorative gift given to Hank Aaron’s wife when he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. He was also the ‘go-to’ guy for the national Mardi Gras organization creating both the King and Queen pins for many years. And, atop the Virgin Mary’s head at a prominent downtown Mobile, AL Catholic cathedral sits a most delicate, intricate gold crown hand-crafted by John many years ago.
With such talent it’s easy to think his was a gift passed down from family, but John’s entry into the jewelry industry came in a most unusual way. During his service in the US Army Air Force John worked in the instrument shop repairing altimeters, air speed indicators and vertical speed indicators. He and his buddies joked about how much their work resembled watch making. When the war was over John enrolled in New Castle Jewelry School and, after graduating, moved south to Mobile.
It took him 20 years working for a local jeweler before he opened his own trade shop in 1969. From that day forward John and his wife Jean worked side-by-side building their business. In 1974 he opened his retail store called John Bosco Jewelers where he manufactured one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces.
John and Jean’s son Richard joined the business in the early ‘80s, ensuring the family owned business would transcend to the second generation.
John’s legacy of dedication to his business and the industry was unwavering and unheard of. Despite his age, it was rare for him to miss a day in the shop. Even at 90 years of age he drove himself to and from the store every day. With nearly 70 years behind the bench his legacy of fine craftsmanship and ability to fix anything will be sorely missed. But, like his dad, Richard believes that jewelry is an art form and is committed to carrying on the Bosco tradition of high quality custom designs at affordable prices.
John Bosco honed his jewelry making skills over his nearly 70 years behind the bench in the jewelry industry.