23 January 2012

Jean's Silversmiths


Keep looking. You keep finding.

Jean's, a metal storefront with a plain name and a number, on a saddish block of W. 45th Street in Midtown, is a dealer in fine silver. You'll fine no silver plate inside, only sterling. Tea services, silverware, barware, jewelry, gifts, trays, candlesticks, objets d'art, from every decade of the last century and the century before that. Tons of it. Piles of it. From Tiffany, Gorham, Paul Revere, and dozens of other famous makers, many of the items sporting patterns rare and long since discontinued.


Jean's was founded in 1910, and has been in it's current location since 1958. It's still a family business.
It is one of those New York businesses that is so needed, and so knows what it's about, that it doesn't need to worry about the noise of showmanship. As you can see, the outside's nothing to write home about. The interior's even more ramshackle. (Given their wares, you can understand why I didn't even try to take photos inside.) The glass cases are all in good order, and the clerks are neat and prim. But there are pipes and duct work hanging from the ceiling, and the high tin ceiling surely began rusting when Roosevelt was in office. They're here to sell you Tiffany's old silver, not to look like Tiffany's.


People come into Jean's all the time, trying to sell their old silver. Nice people and nutty people. Jean's treats them all with dignity and respect. A Jean's worker can look at an item and deduce its era and producer in a few minutes. I myself can afford almost nothing in this store. But many a sparkly object caught my eye, and the counter staff showed me each with patience and deference. When I finally did find something I liked and could manage—a small matchbox case—they sent it to the back for a polishing and then put in a handsome box. That's service.

3 comments:

Henry Krinkle said...

I love the sense of nostalgia that places like these bring. It's nice to see things different than the local Target, Home Depot, or Chili's...

Hope all is well

Henry

http://corruptionincortez.blogspot.com/

IE said...

Nice to see that Jean's is still there. I used to go there years ago and was just thinking about them the other day. Good to see that they are still around. I think I will pay them a visit soon.

Marilyn U. said...

I bought my Silverware at Jean's almost 50 years ago. I guess it's time to sell as the younger generation refuses to polish silver and make do with Stainless Steel. More's the pity.

Marilyn