When the Baltimore Ravens are head-butting their opponents on a Sunday afternoon, it’s hard to imagine them picking out bracelets. But they do, with help from Brian McCullough, Baltimore’s secret weapon of jewelry for the tough-guy set.
An 11-year veteran of Timonium-based Smyth, McCullough’s name has been passed around the entire Ravens organization for the past six years. And with good reason: At six-foot-two, McCullough is a formidable man. He wears a big watch. He has a huge smile. He’s a big guy who knows what other big guys want. But while his hands may be large, he somehow manages to hold tiny gems with gentle ease.
McCullough’s made friends with and helped pretty much everyone in the Ravens family, “from the owner to the groundskeeper,” he says. “Even the cheerleaders and the band.” But when it comes to star players, McCullough’s not the type to get star struck or even brag about his high-roller clients by name.
A football player’s jewelry needs are pretty much like anyone else’s, but with a bigger budget, he explains. There are birthdays, anniversaries, and, of course, that first gift to mom that says, “I made it.” Sometimes those are bracelets with team numbers on them. Whatever they choose, McCullough confirms, “Generally, their mothers are a pretty big part of what they’ve got going on.”
The jeweler typically meets players at their Owings Mills practice facility or homes, usually with a fairly good idea of what they’d like to purchase. He gets it.
“Brian’s a guy’s guy,” says Ed Burchell, the team’s vice president of regional sales and partnerships, adding that McCullough’s sideline manner is so great that even after players and executives move on to different teams, they still come back to him year after year.
McCullough fondly recalls when, two years ago, a wide receiver (McCullough won’t spill who) made an appointment to come in and discuss an engagement ring.
“He was a little bit lost because it wasn’t something he was used to doing,” McCullough says. “But he was really excited.”
After the athlete picked out the ring, he text messaged McCullough at least once a week to check on its progress. He proposed to his now-wife during a romantic picnic—with the ring in a sparkly Limoges collectible box. A friendship sparked between jeweler and athlete. And in case you were wondering, yes, McCullough was even invited to the wedding.