By Carol Kinsley

If any company in the nation has stood the test of time, surely it is Kuhn’s Jewelers in Salisbury, which was founded in 1853 and is the fourth oldest independently operated jewelry business in America. 

Owner Susan Purnell said, “I missed the first century, but I’ve been here the last 68 years.” Taken to the shop as a baby, she has experienced every aspect of the business. “My first job was making bows, then working in the mailing room wrapping packages.”

Purnell’s grandfather, John A. Kuhn, bought the business in 1923. Her grandparents managed to continue the business through the Depression and now she has steered it through a pandemic.

“We had a wonderful year,” Purnell said, “partly because we moved to Seagull Square, where there’s better parking. Business has been great.”

People still have occasions, she noted, “and our customers are loyal. They still come back for those occasions, ordering by phone or internet. We were selling even when the front door was closed.”

Just as people are loyal to Kuhn’s, Purnell and her staff have been loyal to the community that has been so good to them for so many years. She and her family members have served on many nonprofits over the years. “You have to give until it hurts because you’ve been given so much,” she added.

The store is open now, with mask-wearing and social distancing. “Most people visit a website to see products, but with jewelry, you have to touch and feel. It’s hard to do that online, so most people come to look before purchasing. We’re still a traditional retail store with an online presence.”

Kuhn’s always has something new, including jewelry designs hand-selected to meet Kuhn’s high standard of quality and craftsmanship. The store carries a vibrant collection of timeless pieces, including engagement rings, bracelets, necklaces, watches and more. Kuhn’s has an incredible collection of diamond, pearl, ruby, sapphire, emerald and aquamarine jewelry.

Kuhn’s biggest competitor is the internet, Purnell acknowledged. “But we know the wives — what style they like. We wouldn’t show something chunky to a dainty person. We’re more consultants than sales persons. We’ll help find something that really works, something appropriate for the style of person they’re buying for.

“I love it when a man asks, ‘Do you remember what I gave her last year?’ We have in our computer what purchase was made last Christmas or for her birthday,” Purnell said.

For a truly unique gift, bring your inspiration, whether sketch or photograph, and collaborate with Kuhn’s Jewelers to create a one-of-a-kind treasure. Kuhn’s goldsmiths use traditional hand-fabrication techniques and are locally owned and operated. Or, you can work with one of the world’s pre-eminent designers, Simon G., who can take any diamond and make it into a masterpiece ring. 

Stop in at Kuhn’s new location: 1306 S. Salisbury Blvd., Ste. 192, across from Salisbury University, or visit to see new items, special occasion pieces and delightful jewelry in a wide range of prices. 

Jewelry cleaning, repairs and appraisals are also available. For more information, call 410-742-3256.