I work in precious metal wire – 18K and 14 K Gold, Argentium Sterling Silver and 14K Gold-Filled wire. Because I work with precious metals, I feel that the focus piece needs to be of the best quality I can put into my inventory.
Just after I went into business in February 2000, I went to a small Gem & Mineral Show at a community college here in the Phoenix area, where I met a wonderful lapidary by the name of Keith Horst and his son Alex. They had come to the valley to do the show from Prescott, AZ. I bought from them that day and I’ve done business with them ever since. Keith likes the same shapes of stones I do and I love that he works in stones not seen often in jewelry. Keith does special cuts for me for many of my special projects, my bolo ties for one example. I get most of my turquoise from Keith. Keith has been a lapidary for 32 years and teaches lapidary arts at the Yavapai College. Alex Horst learned the lapidary business as a teenager and began carving and inlaying stones as well as cutting and polishing. Alex has appeared in one of the trade periodicals, Lapidary Journal, which is now Jewelry Arts Magazine, twice before he was 30 years old. He now makes his own jewelry line and shows most of it at Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery in Prescott, AZ.
About four years ago, I was doing just about 27 shows a year in the art show circuit in Arizona and traveling to neighboring states such as California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and once I went back to my home state of Illinois to do a couple of weekend art shows. At one of the local shows, I met Holly Arthur. She has been a gem dealer for over 35 years. I made an appointment to meet with her the following week where she showed me her stock of facetted gemstones, pearls, and opals. She knows that I can set any shape gemstone or cabochon, so she watches for unusual, high quality and specialty pieces. Holly travels the world dealing directly with the mines and cutters in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, Egypt, Thailand, China, England, Germany, Greece and Myanmar (Burma). You can see examples of them in the Jewelry section. Some of the pieces Holly has found for me include: Landscape Agate, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, Arizona Absolute Black Jade, Amethyst, Chrysoprase with Diamond, Chinese Freshwater Pearls and the Australian Opal. Both Holly and Keith give me my fix of Druzys. Druzy is a sparkly sandy effect that happens in certain stones because of the ‘right” conditions on various stones. Druzys are small compact crystals on a host matrix. They can form from the dissipation of volcanic gases in air pockets in minerals/rocks such as geodes or from crystals forming from depositions of water on top of minerals/rocks. Designer Jewelers love to work with them.
In 2003, I did an art show and met a pastel, mixed media artist, Lee Anne Park, who specializes in paintings and scrimstone creations inspired by Wildlife. She showed me some small pieces of Howlite that she had done her scrimshaw work on. She asked if I thought I could set any of them. I did. Now we are pleased to announce Lee Anne and I have this special, one-of-a-kind collaboration, Lee Anne’s scrimstone and scrimshaw drawings on Howlite and fossilized ivory in my jewelry settings. These pieces come with a brochure telling about each spectacular piece. We know women will love them but we know men will enjoy wearing such specialized pieces of jewelry. (Learn more about Lee Anne at www.leeannepark.com.
Over the years, as I go to the Gem & Mineral Show in Tucson, AZ and Las Vegas, NV every year, I try new vendors of for various things. I’m always looking for the unusual and have found many sources that I use in creating my jewelry. If you are looking for something specific or special, please contact me, I will endeavor to acquire it for you.