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Behind the Counter: Charles Nusinov & Sons

The family of jewelers has been serving our neighborhoods for nearly 90 years.

If Sydney Nusinov is the kind of man who can say “bauble” without cringing, it’s because he’s been working at his family’s jewelry store since he was 6 years old.

He started with small jobs, sweeping out the jewelry benches for the dust that could be reused for refining, and counting the thousands of used watch batteries tossed into a bucket.

He’s pretty sure the battery-counting task was created just to keep him busy.

More than 30 years later, the word “bauble” is as much a part of his vocabulary as are “color,” “clarity,” and “cut.”

If you’re diamond shopping, that is.

If you're not, Sydney, the head of marketing for Charles Nusinov & Sons, a Parkville jeweler, is happy to point you toward the new, silver charm bracelets that are all the rage these days. He has thousands of Chamilia charms available, some licensed by Disney and dotted with Swarovski crystals.

He can also recommend a good Seiko watch to purchase—or he can repair one.

“We’re full service,” said Sydney, whose father, Donald Nusinov, is currently serving as president of the company. His brother, Alan, is the shop manager. Founded in 1923, Charles Nusinov & Sons is now on its fourth generation of Nusinovs who are involved in the family business.

“We do retail," continued Sydney, "we do jewelry repairs, appraisals, and custom work.”

The store, located at 8720 Satyr Hill Rd., boasts a computer program called Matrix that allows a customer to design his or her own rings, necklaces, and earrings, including designs that allow customers to refashion their own jewelry into newly made pieces.

Customers can also sell their gold for store credit or cash, which is saying a lot these days.

“The gold market has gone from $300 an ounce to $1,900 an ounce in the last four or five years,” Sydney said. “Just to get a plain wedding band, which might have been $200, is now $900.”

He credits the surging popularity of tungsten wedding bands to the high price of gold, since customers are looking for something more affordable and very durable, to take the place of what was once the traditional metal. The Chisel collection, for example, makes wedding bands, chains, cufflinks, and money clips from tungsten, stainless steel, titanium, or cobalt chromium.

The family business serves local customers, even though it now has ecommerce available on their website.

 “I think we’re an accessible store to the general public,” Sydney said. “We don’t carry the big high-end lines. We have jewelry that’s more accessible to working folks in the area. We take pride in trying to accommodate anyone who comes in.”

Throughout the many years that Charles Nusinov & Sons has been in business, the family has developed so many relationships with different vendors that “if you have a special request, we can find pretty much anything,” Sydney said.

The website showcases some unique and licensed designs, including a Hershey’s Kiss pendant, featuring 2.25 carats of diamonds, retailing at $5,595.

“We just have the silver ones here,” Sydney chuckled, referring to the less expensive line of Hershey’s Kiss jewelry. “The ones we have are $100 to $180. We can order those [expensive ones], but that’s a very specific customer.”

Sydney said the largest diamond the store has sold was over four carats.

“That’s not as big as a dime, but it’s pretty big,” he said.

The newest Nusinov might have only a few years to wait before he starts counting a bucketful of watch batteries himself.

Sydney’s infant son, named after Sydney’s grandfather, Nathan, who was one of the founder’s sons, worked in the business until he was 89 years old, and passed away in 2009.

If his namesake carries the same commitment to the family business into the fifth generation of Nusinovs, then Parkville residents will be jewelry shopping on Satyr Hill Road for many years to come.

Betty Letterman July 17, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Fourteen years ago I went to Nusinov's to purchase a school ring for my son. I had 3 young children with me. There was one other customer in the store, who was being waited on at the time. We stood and waited to have someone help us. We must have looked like we couldn't afford anything there. Not one employee ever even acknowledged us, even though they passed by us several times.After about a 10 minute wait, we left never to return there again.
Sydney Nusinov July 17, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Betty, I'm sorry you had that experience. That's not the way we do business. We have a receptionist who greets every customer and then directs them to an associate. I can't speak to what happened in this specific instance 14 years ago, but I certainly don't like knowing that we might have made someone feel that way. I don't normally work on the sales floor, but if you would need something in the future you can ask for me personally.
DK July 17, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Mr. Nusinov As a lil girl in the 70's I remember when you were located in Overlea on Belair Rd. My Mom and Dad both worked for you many many years. ( Rita and Bernie ) Everyone always smiled and took the time to chat. I remember when the relocation to Sayter Hill took place... I thought it was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen. Your family always treated everyone with kindness from your heart.

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