A Family Affair
"We have a lot of pride in what we do,î said Jory. ìWe treat people fairly and they come back and send their children and grandchildren in. I think everybody walks out of here feeling good."
His father Jay, who began the business in 1982, echoes that sentiment. "It's a very personal business. There's a lot of trust that goes into what we do, with the irreplaceable family heirlooms we are entrusted with," said Jay. "We have had people bring in damaged silverware from parents or grandparents who were deceased. They have cried with joy seeing the piece they remembered restored."
Almost 30 years ago, Jay, a successful eyeglass manufacturer, and his wife were sterling silver and china collectors, but hadn't considered turning their hobby into a full-time profession until Jay bought a double-end polishing machine from a former employee. "I put a $4 ad in a local paper at the time, saying we polished silver and brass candlesticks and trays," he said.
From there, the business grew as the Newmans continued shopping for antiques and customers began requesting silver plating and engraving. Son Jory assisted his father with the expanding business for many years before taking it over in 2004. Now, Pikesville Silver & Antiques counts among its clients museums, religious institutions, and people with family heirlooms that need restoration and polishing, as well as those who come in to buy gifts or decorations for their home.
Gay-friendly Business Welcomes All
Neither Jory Newman, nor his father Jay, is a gay man. So why are they both supportive of Baltimore's LGBT community? As Jay succinctly puts it, "Why not?"
Jory chimes in. "It's a group of people — African American, Jewish, Catholic, gay — and everybody should be easy with one another. It's mainstream society now." He credits his upbringing with encouraging him to be open-minded. "I was brought up not to see a difference between people. You have to be yourself," he said.
He encourages the community to come into the shop and be "wildly delighted" by his wares. "For making a condo or a house look beautiful, I have great things," he said. Collectors can find Portuguese candelabra from the 1940s-1950s and a hundred-year-old repousse bowl handmade by Samuel Kirk & Sons, a renowned local silver manufacturer, among other one-of-a-kind finds.
"A silver gift is personal and a piece of artwork as well," said Jory. In today's world of disposable flatware and paper plates, silver may seem a little archaic. But "a piece of sterling stays in the family for many years," Jory said. And there is something comforting about doing business with a man who believes in listening without judgment to the life stories of his patrons, regardless of race, religion, or sexuality.
"We listen to our customers, and they share personal things with us," said Jory. "This isn't K-Mart."
Stories From Over the Years
Jay tells an amusing anecdote of a woman who brought in a large trophy that had belonged to her mother; the woman wanted the old trophy to be silver plated.
"I said, it's not a great trophy to start with, and I can sell you something that will cost you less than it will cost to have this plated," he said. "But this woman would have none of it, because her father gave the trophy to her mother on their 5th wedding anniversary, to commemorate her putting up with him."
Over the years, the Newmans have restored pieces that were badly damaged when they were taken out of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, and each and every one had a different story to tell. They also possess several Russian samovars from the 1800s, ornate containers that used coal to heat water and make tea.
"The Russian ones are really pieces of art," said Jay. "It took a long time to be able to get them out of Russia, and then when they were shipped to the US, customs would damage them, and people would bring them to us to be fixed. They predate the electric coffee pot."
With the holiday season fast approaching, both Newmans are predicting an increase in customers buying gifts with longer staying power than an expensive bottle of wine, as well as a post-holiday surge of clients who accidentally damaged Grandma's silver.
"After most holidays, people bring in silverware to be fixed that went down the garbage disposal. They say this can't be mine when they get it back. We make something that looks terrible look beautiful," said Jory.
Pikesville Silver & Antiques
629 Reisterstown Rd. ϒ 410.358.3377
Open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm