By Lenore Fedow
Silverscape Designs is housed inside of an Art Deco style building, formerly the home of the First National Bank.
Northampton, Mass.—Silverscape Designs is closing up shop after more than two decades in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts.

The late Denis Perlman founded the first Silverscape Designs in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1976 inside a converted Victorian style house, though this location later closed.

He expanded to Northampton a decade later, settling in on Pleasant Street.

In 1993, Perlman purchased a granite and limestone Art Deco building, formerly the home of the First National Bank, on the corner of Main and King streets, and moved the store there.

He transformed the 8,000-square-foot building into retail space, preserving most of the original details, including decorative moldings, stained glass windows, woodwork, the bank vault, and teller windows, which are now stations for repairs and appraisals.

20201120 Silverscape insert copyA look back at when Silverscape Designs was the First National Bank, around 1928

A standout feature of the space is the stained-glass skylight that depicts the 12 signs of the zodiac, while its outdoor clock grabs passerby attention as well.

Perlman’s jewelry designing career began when he was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, later selling jewelry out of a blue school bus.

Outside of jewelry, Perlman was an airplane enthusiast and a licensed pilot.

He died in a single-engine plane crash in 2000, leaving the store to his brother, Wally Perlman.

The late Perlman was honored in 2012 as part of a memorial to recognize local citizens that “have had a significant impact on downtown Northampton's vitality.” He was one of the first nine honorees on the memorial.

“After Denis died, I found out he wanted me to run the store, and so that’s what I did, kept the store and Denis’ legacy going,” Wally said in a press release about the store’s closure.

“Although I’ve looked after it for twenty years, the store has always been about Denis and the jewelry,” he said.

At the age of 77, Wally is ready to retire.

“It’s bittersweet to close the store, but I’m grateful to the customers and community support over many years, and that my brother Denis will be remembered well,” Wally said. 

He credits the store’s success to its staff, noting many of the team has been with the company for years. The team has downsized to nine employees from its original 20-plus as it begins to close.

The store’s going-out-of-business sale begins Nov. 24 with special COVID-19 precautions in place.

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