Shop Birlant & Co. for Timeless English Antiques, Silver, Furniture

This shop's the fruit of three generations of family dedication to 17th- and 18th-century antiques

By Clare Sweeney,

Antique furniture and silver at Geo. C. Birlant & Co. — Photo courtesy of Geo. C. Birlant & Co.

Charleston, S.C., is known for her historic beauty, demonstrated in the storied streets, ancient live oaks, graceful mansions and old war forts dotting the peninsula and coastline. What's more, the city's penchant for historical authenticity extends even deeper, to the style and spirit of Charleston antique stores and collectors. One such combination lies in the lovely lower king street Geo. C. Birlant & Co. antiques store.

Birlant & Co. has been a purveyor of of "fine antiques and gifts" for over 92 years, and it's now managed by its third-generation family owners, the Slotins. The Birlant & Co. family continues to make regular buying trips to England and elsewhere in Britain, carefully selecting and returning with the highest quality English antique pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Geo. C. Birlant & Co. antiques storefront on King Street in downtown Charleston — Photo courtesy of Geo. C. Birlant & Co.

The shop's specialities include antique furniture, silver, crystal, china, grandfather clocks, dining ware and even brass door knockers. Expect to be truly wowed by the extent of the store's museum-quality collection of sets of dining chairs, sideboards, bookcases, platters, chests of drawers and fireplace accessories like fenders and fire screens. 

Birlant & Co. also carries a wide selection of local acquisitions as well as bench-made antique English-style reproductions. The shop can even commission artistic British cabinetmakers and arrange for the crafting of custom reproduction furniture by customer request in materials such as mahogany, yew wood, walnut, pine and burr myrtle, among others.

Geo. C. Birlant & Co. antiques store — Photo courtesy of Geo. C. Birlant & Co.

Birlant & Co. is perhaps most notable for its status as the only manufacturer of the unique Charleston Battery Bench, whose authentic design and moldings were purchased from its original owner over 60 years ago. The Charleston Battery Bench is a beautiful piece of Charleston history, made from Cypress planks and cast iron framing; the bench's details include local flora and fauna.

Today, the Birlant family still handcrafts these impressive benches, which are available for custom order via their website. You can visit one of these Charleston Battery Benches at Charleston's White Point Gardens and Battery

Birlant & Co. resides in the Lower King neighborhood of Charleston, between Market and Queen Streets, fitting in easily with its art gallery, wine and cheese bar and shopping neighbors.

Antique English Spode ironstone platters — Photo courtesy of Geo. C. Birlant & Co.

This local shop's been thriving at its original location at 191 King Street since 1922. Birlant & Co. is at home in an unmissable, four-story stone storefront, with free parking located directly behind the building. Birlant & Co. is open to visitors and shoppers alike Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and makes the ideal antique shopping pitstop before or after lunch at nearby restaurants such as Poogan's Porch, Bull Street Gourmet or Fulton Five

Stop in at Birlant & Co. after walking the length of King or Broad Streets, or people watch from one of the Birlant & Co. Charleston Battery Benches at the storefront on King.

Visit the Geo. C. Birlant & Co. website beforehand to view photo galleries of their antique pieces, read the history of the Birlant family and company or take a virtual tour of the store itself.