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Argyle gem celebrates 120 years
Berget Jewlers

By Tammy Kilby

For the Times

ARGYLE — Opening its doors in 1904, Berget Jewelers is one of the longest running businesses in Lafayette County. Berget Jewelers is located at 320 Milwaukee Street, Argyle; where it has stood since 1919. 

It was a startup business for Olas Berget, thus the name. Another jewelry store supposedly served the area of Argyle prior to Berget Jewelers, however throughout the archives is only the name Mr. Buckmaster, with no printed announcement or advertisement to confirm its existence. 

The current Berget Jewelers’ owner — and just its third owner in 120 years — David Phillipson, purchased the jewelry business in 1976 from Olas Berget’s son, Kaspar. Phillipson carries a business degree, which he earned from UW-Whitewater. He studied watch repair at Quincy, Ill. He gained management skills from managing the Norseman for several years. 

In addition to Berget Jewelers in Argyle, Phillipson and his late wife Christine also opened their second Berget’s Jewelry store at 257 High Street in Mineral Point. He currently divides his time between both locations. 

The original advertisement for O. A. Berget, Jeweler in the Argyle Atlas states: “The store is furnished in an attractive manner and the stock covers everything unusually found in first class houses of this kind, fine gold and silver watches, diamonds, handsome jewelry, silverware and fancy articles.”

Olas Berget was from Wiota. In addition to fine jewelry, he offered optometric services, Edison phonographs, pianos, banjos, guitars, clarinets and saxophones, as well as other musical accessories. 

By 1931, Olas Berget’s health was failing him. His son, R. Kasper Berget, took over the business upon his passing in December 1931. R. Kasper Berget married Miss Nellie Lawver in 1935. Together, they worked to keep the doors open in the 1930s, during the time of the Great Depression. 

In addition to the musical instruments and fine jewelry, Berget’s also featured the greeting card and magazine concessions upon the closing of Gaskill’s Variety Store. 

The Bergets traveled to Ohio to visit the Fenton glass-making company, and Fostoria glass factory in West Virginia. Taking the time to tour these glass-making businesses was done in a way to further educate themselves and bring home treasures to sell out of their store. 

Berget Jewelers still sells some fine glassware, along with German glassware that can be seen upon walking through their doors. 

Phillipson carries on the legacy that comes from years of experience. He continues to offer watch repair just as he has for the past 48 years. In addition to fine jewelry, the display of Fenton, Millersburg, and Fostoria glassware, along with other fine goods, can still be purchased in both locations.