An Historic Tradition
Ann Ruth Moseley and James Cooley Hinson both grew up in Kershaw County, South Carolina. They were sweethearts in school, but during World War II, Cooley joined the navy to fight for his country. His ship, the USS Vincennes, was attacked and sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific Ocean. With shrapnel in his leg, he survived shark invested waters and eventually returned home at the end of the war with a Purple Heart.
While Cooley was away, Ann moved to the big city of Columbia. Though she was a tiny 4'11", she was feisty and a woman ahead of her time. She embarked on an adventure as a businesswoman securing a a job at RL Bryan Printing Company and began her new life.
After returning home from the war, Cooley went to watch
repair school through the GI Bill. He began courting Ann once again, and in December 1945 they married and had two
daughters, Linda and Esther. After working for various jewelry stores in Orangeburg, SC and Ashville, NC, Cooley retuned his family to their hometown of Camden where the opportunity presented itself for them to purchase their own store.
This store became Camden Jewelers in 1958, which is still family owned and operated to this day. Ann and Cooley worked side by side at Camden Jewelers for many decades with Cooley doing repairs and managing the store and Ann putting her business skills to work. Ann was president of the local Business and Professional Women’s Association at one point. In fact, she continued doing the books for the store until she was 94 years old.
As Linda recalls, jewelry stores were very different when she was growing up working in the store, as there were no “big box” stores. The store often sold pots and pans, china, small appliances, and even stereos. Cooley had a knack for choosing trendy novelties that contributed to Camden Jewelers’ success during this time. Linda continues this tradition, as you can still often find unique and unusual gifts. Even though the store is only ten feet wide, she refers to it as “the biggest little jewelry store in Kershaw County” due to its variety of inventory.
Camden Jewelers has had many wonderful people come through their doors over the years. The traditions that have been passed down have led them to become known as a hometown generational jeweler for many families. Camden Jewelers is truly a local gem that has served its community with pride and supports many local events and charities.
According to the family, “We enjoy helping people mark the milestones of their lives with jewelry ~ diamonds for engagements, pearls for graduation, a silver baby rattle for a newborn, or an engraved watch for a gentleman’s retirement. Buying fine jewelry is an experience! You can’t just
buy a diamond engagement ring online and feel the same way you do when an experienced jeweler shows you what makes your diamond unique. Every diamond has unique characteristics, just as every customer we serve at Camden Jewelers. We like to think that after all of these decades, we still have something for everyone and can help commemorate life’s most special moments and milestones. We appreciate our customers, and we are always happy to help.”