NEW YORK — Tiffany & Co. veteran Merritt Mayher has taken the reins of two venerable, regional jewelers: Boston-based Shreve, Crump & Low and Richmond, Va.-based Schwartzchild Jewelers.

Both chains, which have a combined total of five locations, are owned by Montreal-based Tyringham Investments.

Mayher steps into president and chief executive officer positions that have been vacant since 2002, when Richard Wycherley left Shreve, Crump & Low and Stewart Kasen left Schwartzchild.

Mayher spent 11 years at Tiffany & Co., with most of her experience in international operations. Her last position was vice president of category management. which she gave up for her new role.

She will be based in Boston, but will spend a third of her time in Richmond. She said the two cities are similar in that they are "older, historic communities with a lot of vibrant, new citizens coming in."

Her appointment marks the first time that 207-year-old Shreve, Crump & Low — which brags on its Web site that its original store was next to Paul Revere’s silver shop — has had a woman as its president and ceo.

"I have the somewhat prejudiced view that women are the primary consumer of fine luxury items," Mayher said. "It’s rewarding to be leading a company that is devoted to selling to them."

Schwartzchild will open a fourth location in Richmond in September. Mayher is "still assessing the opportunities in New England" to add to Shreve, Crump & Low’s two Boston stores.

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