Silverscape Designs is a landmark in Northampton. Located at the corner of King and Main Streets in a 1928 Art Deco bank building, the reserved exterior belies the stunning interior with its stained glass ceiling and dramatic ornamentation. It is ironic, with such a sumptuous stage for diamonds and jewelry, that Silverscape Designs was actually started in the back of a school bus. Founder, Denis Perlman, began making jewelry while attending MIT. He soon noticed he spent much more time designing than studying, so he decided to take his jewelry show on the road. After outfitting the school bus with a shop, he criss-crossed the United State several times.
When he tired of this peripatetic existence, he came to rest in Amherst, Massachusetts and in 1976 opened his first non-mobile store. Denis lovingly converted a large Victorian house into an ever larger and larger jewelry shop. The store and stock grew so much that he could say, without fear of contradiction, that it contained the largest collection of handmade jewelry in New England.
A decade later, he expanded with a location in Northampton and it was here that he created his masterpiece. The corner of King and Main has been occupied by a bank since 1865 and it was on this site that the First National Bank built its Art Deco palace.
In 1993, the bank decided that the building was impractical for their business. However, they just could not bring themselves to tear down the local landmark. In stepped Denis Perlman, who not only promised to keep the building intact, but also would restore it to its former glory. The main banking room was filled with custom designed wooden cases to contain the precious gems and fine jewelry. A local craftsman created special Art Deco style lamps to light the displays. Denis even turned back the clock by restoring and rehanging the original chandeliers, which had been removed decades earlier.
Every molding, every brass detail, every surface was lovingly restored including the magnificent vault, which now safeguards diamonds instead of dollars. The brass teller's windows are still used to provide services, except now customers receive appraisals and repairs to jewelry of all kinds. The bank's time and temperature clock on the outside corner was put back in working order as a community service.
Silverscape Designs is proud of its tradition of selling handmade jewelry, especially by American artists, and proud of its beautiful building which in itself is a monument to craftsmanship.