Cover Stories

Support for the Arts: Elleard Heffern Fine Jewelers

Elleard Heffern Fine Jewelers is a St. Louis institution. Founded in 1913 as Heffern-Neuhoff Jewelers, the family-owned business has been serving the community for more than a century. Along with bringing beauty to clients through wearable pieces of art, the jeweler is dedicated to uplifting local cultural institutions and supporting the growth and development of young artists. “As a family, we’ve always been involved in the community.” says third-generation owner Christopher ‘Kit’ Heffern. “It started with my grandfather, and my father continued the tradition when he took over the business. Now, it’s my turn to help steward arts and education in the St. Louis area.”

Championing the arts is a natural fit for Elleard Heffern. The jeweler established itself through crafting unique custom pieces for clients. “I’m lucky to be in this industry,” Heffern notes. “We help people celebrate milestones by creating jewelry that is both beautiful and meaningful, and to do so, we rely on finding the best young talent in the industry.” To help foster that talent locally, the jeweler helped fund the creation of a jewelry studio at Craft Alliance. “It’s a very important art institution,” he says. “The hands-on programming helps people pursue creative interests. It’s critical that we preserve the art of crafting, especially in today’s technology-driven world.”

Along with supporting Craft Alliance, Elleard Heffern works closely with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. One of the initiatives the jeweler supports is the nonprofit’s Artists-in-Training Program, which helps engage high school students with the art of opera. “We help fund scholarships for students,” Heffern says. “There are not a lot of local opera institutions, and there are certainly not many aimed at introducing teenagers to it. This year, the Elleard Heffern Prize was presented to Chase Oncken, a senior who has been singing with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for some time. His performance was wonderful.”

To further help cultivate a love of the arts in high school students, Elleard Heffern also is involved with Sumner High School. Located in The Ville, the historic public school was established as the first high school for African-American students west of the Mississippi. “We connected with the principal, Sean Nichols, Ed.D, about his after-school arts program and provided the funding to pay for a teacher for the school year,” Heffern says. “We love supporting young people, helping them grow in the arts and raising local talent right here in St. Louis.”

That focus on supporting local talent extends to organizations like Jazz St. Louis and COCA. The latter of which Heffern served on the board for six years and is still involved with. “St. Louis has provided for us for the last 109 years, so we want to be able to pay that back,” he notes. “Fostering and cultivating the arts locally allows individuals to pursue their talents here or build their skills elsewhere while remaining true to their roots in this community. It’s good for St. Louis, and it’s good for Elleard Heffern.”

For 109 years, Elleard Heffern Fine Jewelers has been serving St. Louis. The soon to be fourth-generation family-owned business is dedicated to supporting the community through philanthropic endeavors. Pictured on the cover: Sean Nichols, Ed.D; Webster Heffern; Andrew Jorgensen; Kelly Pollock; Kit Heffern. For more information, call 314.863.8820 or

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography

Pictured at top: Guy Fietsam, Danielle Embry, Kit Heffern, Cortney Vaughn, Linda Hall, Webster Heffern, Cecilia Kelly
Photo by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography


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