The history of Sylvan’s Jewelers mirrors that of post-reconstruction Columbia and is itself a story of the American dream.
In 1890, Gustaf Sylvan, a Swedish watchmaker, and his brother Johannes, a jeweler, completed their apprenticeships and immigrated to America to find their fortunes. After working for a jeweler in Savannah and saving for their dream, the brothers split up to find the perfect location for their jewelry and watch shop. In 1897, Gus arrived in Columbia and found a vibrant city with a growing economy – everything the brothers were looking for. He opened Gustaf Sylvan’s High Grade Jewelers in September of that year in a small shop at 1524 Main Street. The next day an article in The Columbia State extolled the elegance of the new store. Six months later, Johannes arrived in Columbia, and the shop was renamed Sylvan Brothers Jewelers.
The Sylvan Brothers moved their shop to a Second Empire-style building on the corner of Main and Hampton streets in 1905. A year later, they installed a beautiful four-sided clock on the sidewalk in front of the store. One of the firm’s earliest commissions was to design the official ring for the University of South Carolina, which were handmade in the store for many years. Through the years, Sylvan’s has also supplied china, silver, crystal and gifts for the Governor’s Mansion.
Today, Sylvan’s Jewelers is one of the oldest retail firms in the region. Owned and operated by the fourth generation of a family of jewelers, Sylvan’s Jewelers represents some of the finest watch, diamond and jewelry brands in the world, including Hearts On Fire, Christopher Designs, Memoire and Sylvan’s Signature Diamonds; designer collections from Mikimoto, John Hardy, Grainger McKoy, Slane, Marco Bicego and Sweet Charleston Designs; and fine watch brands such as Rolex, Ball Watch, Raymond Weil and Tissot. The Sylvan Building on the corner of Main and Hampton is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the Sylvan’s clock is a cherished local landmark. Visit their website at www.Sylvans.com.