Some Traditions Never Change

It began more than 165 years ago. A tradition of offering the finest jewelry money can buy, backed by honesty, integrity, and a passion for building relationships.

Hands Jewelers has been in our family for generations. Find out how our story began and how it has evolved through the years.

Hands History


Original Josephson’s Closes

Bill ends a 121-year run and closes the original Josephson’s in Moline, the first and last vestige of the Nusser (Sr) expansion into a small empire during the 1970s.


Ross Nusser Works at Hands

Ross Nusser, Bill and Betsy’s firstborn, joins Hands as a janitor like his father before him. Ross will eventually opt for a career in real estate and real estate development, but he will be the first member of the fifth generation of the Hands-Nusser family to work at Hands.

Celebrating 150 Years

Hands celebrates what they believe to be 150 years with a special evening in the store with Hands’ favorite clients and friends.


Hands Remodel and Another Nusser Joins Staff

Hands’ storefront is restored and updated. The project will take an entire summer. Charlie Nusser starts at Hands as janitor, a position now retitled as sales support; another career in the family business is launched at Hands.


Hands Holiday Pop-up Shop

Hands joins Catherine Champion of Catherine’s and Prairie Lights to open a holiday pop-up store called December, located where Tailgate is now located on Clinton Street next to Panchero’s in the Old Gilda’s location. The store features Hands giftware, books from Prairie Lights, and Champion selects a cadre of local artisans and crafters to sell their selected work. It is well received at the time, but will not be repeated.


Hands Home for the Holidays

Hands opens a pop-up store for the holiday season called Hands Home. Three doors east on Washington Street, it features more casual selections from the gift department, mostly under $100. It proves to be popular, but once the space is rented, Hands Home is not repeated.


New Signage and New Founding Date

Incentivized by a contest sponsored by the Iowa City Downtown District, MidwestOne Bank, and supported by the city of Iowa City, Hands wins one of several grants to create the round lighted sign on the front of the store. The winning entry was designed by architects Marcelo Aruani and Steve Miller of OPN Architects.  During family genealogy research, the Nusser family discover that Oliver Startsman opened the Washington Street location in 1853—not 1854 as originally believed, making 2018 the 165th year of jewelry operations.