Power Player: Dennis deJonghe

Dennis deJonghe still remembers when he and his wife, Peggy, first came to Saratoga Springs: They were on the craft fair circuit, traveling in an old panel van to places such as Buffalo and Connecticut—anywhere that was hosting a juried show where Dennis could share his jewelry. This pursuit is what led the couple to the Washington County Fairgrounds for the Green Mountain Craft Fair. “We didn’t make any money at that show,” says deJonghe. What they did make, however, was a connection to the area that would be their home for the decades to come. 

“We moved to Saratoga to look for a place for a shop,” deJonghe says. “And it was really a gut instinct. I’d like to say I did all this research.” He laughs and praises the luck of the draw—that they had been able to find an affordable place to rent on Caroline Street. It was 1982. 

Flash forward 42 years, and deJonghe Original Jewelry has grown with the Saratoga community. To step into the storefront at 470 Broadway (to which deJonghe moved in 1988) is to enter a space where loyal customers come to celebrate life’s milestones, out-of-towners experience the artistic spirit of Saratoga, and jewelry is done…differently. 

(Photography by Eric Jenks)

“You might find a jewelry bench in a jewelry shop,” deJonghe says, “but not where they’re making everything in the store.” At deJonghe Original Jewelry, everything is made in the shop—and it’s always been that way. 

deJonghe credits his unique approach with the fact that he never set out to be a jeweler: His original plan was to become an art teacher. “When I graduated, I couldn’t find a teaching job,” he says. He’d studied jewelry-making as part of his curriculum, and at the behest of a beloved professor, started selling his work. “It was really all new to us,” he says of the jewelry industry. “I was sort of winging it.” 

Having no blueprint from which to operate gave deJonghe more room for creativity. Each piece, and each day at the shop, was an experiment—one that included raising his family.

“They all grew up in the shop,” he says of his three children, Evan, Sarah and Becca. “That’s where all their diapers were changed.” 

As adults, each of his children embarked on their own career paths, but one by one, they all found their way back to the shop. 

“We never imagined having a family business that will continue on,” says deJonghe. “We’re very fortunate.”   

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