History And Heritage

Sylvan’s Jewelers was established in 1897, by Gustaf and Johannes Sylvan.

Sylvan’s is home to many designer brands such as Hearts on Fire, John Hardy, Mikimoto, and Marco Bicego. We also represent several fine Swiss timepiece brands including Raymond Weil, Ball, and more.

Sylvan’s is owned and operated by the fourth generation of the Schiffman family of jewelers.



Brothers Gustaf Jonson Sylvan (a watchmaker) and Johannes Bengston Sylvan (a jeweler) finished their apprenticeships and left their home in Sweden to find fortune in America.


On September 22, 1897, Sylvan’s Jewelers was established in Columbia, South Carolina.

Sylvan’s State Ad October 24, 1897


Christmas Ad, Sylvan State, December 4, 1897

One of the earliest commissions for Sylvan’s Jewelers was to design the official ring for the University of South Carolina



USC Garnet & Black, 1903


USC Garnet & Black, 1904


In 1905, the brothers acquired a new location where Sylvan’s is still headquartered today.


In 1906 they installed a beautiful four-sided clock in front of the store, which is seen as a local landmark.


USC Garnet & Black, 1907


Lexington Dispatch Ad, December 2, 1908



The Lexington Dispatch Ad, September 7, 1910


The Gamecock, May 18, 1917


Lexington Dispatch, October 10, 1917



The Gamecock, November 5, 1926


Clock given to University Information Bureau


Clock given to University Art Department



Christmas Ad, Sylvan’s State 1937



The Gamecock, November 16, 1956


Sylvan’s State Ad, Christmas 1957



Arnold Schiffman and the Schiffman family jewelers bought the Sylvan’s Jewelers brand. Since Schiffman’s is established in Greensboro NC they decided to retain the Sylvan name.

Sylvan's Story

In 1890, brothers Gustaf (Gus) Jonson, a watchmaker, and Johannes Bengtson Sylvan, a jeweler, completed their apprenticeships and made the momentous decision to leave their home in Sweden to seek their fortune in America. They booked passage to the port city of Savannah, Georgia eager to set their plans in motion. It was the dawn of a new, modern era defined by innovation, exploration and optimism. Anything and everything was possible. The brothers quickly found work with a Savannah jeweler and began to build for their dream.

Four years later they were ready to find the right location for their shop and split up to explore the possibilities. Gus made his way to Columbia, South Carolina and Joe went to Montgomery, Alabama. Gus arrived in Columbia to find a vibrant city with a growing economy - everything they were looking for.

On September 22, 1897, Gus opened the doors to Gustaf Sylvan's High Grade Jewelers at 1524 Main Street. In 1905, the brothers acquired a Second Empire style building on the corner of Main and Hampton Streets. They opened at the new location on June 24, 1905, where Sylvan's Jewelers is still headquartered today. In 1906, the brothers installed a beautiful four-sided clock on the sidewalk in front of the store, now a beloved local landmark.

In 1985, Arnold Schiffman, the owner of Schiffman's Jewelers,an independent luxury jeweler based in Greensboro, NC, received a call from Ned Lipscomb, an old friend who had married into the Sylvan family of Columbia, South Carolina. Ned, a former star football player at the University of North Carolina, had been managing the firm for his wife's family. With no one in the next generation to take over, Ned had decided to sell. Arnold and his son Tony drove down to Columbia to see Ned. After a quick look around the store, Arnold and Ned shook on a deal, leaving Tony and Ned's sons to take inventory. Because the company was three hours from Greensboro by car, they decided to retain the Sylvan name.